Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Taking A Break

Hello to all of my visitors, and thank you for you continued comments and support. You may have noticed that I have not posted in a long time. I have recently become a mother to a beautiful little boy, my husband is about to start medical school, and I am finishing up school myself. Needless to say, I have very little time for regular research right now, so any updates will be very sporadic.

Good luck to all on your genealogy adventures!

Friday, September 7, 2012

In Their Own Words: John Pulsipher

John Pulsipher was born on July 17, 1827 to Zerah (or Zera) Pulsipher and Mary Ann Brown. He was baptized in 1835, at age 8, into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He spent his life traveling and working with the Saints. Always working to build up Zion and the Lord’s kingdom. The following is a copy of John Pulsipher’s autobiography.

I, John Pulsipher, was born in the town of Spafford, Onondago County, state of New York, North America, on the 17th of July, 1827, this being the year that Joseph Smith got the plates which contain the Book of Mormon. When I was four years old, said book was published and one copy came into our town. Father got it and read it. He, with the neighbors, Elijah Cheney, S. Roundy and others, would sit and read and talk day and night 'till they read it thru and thru. They believed it was brought forth by the power of God, to prepare the way for the second coming of the Son of Man. It was just what they were looking for. The church of Jesus Christ was organized on the 6th of April, 1830, in the state of New York. After the angels of the Lord restored the priesthood to men on the earth, elders were ordained and sent to preach the Gospel to the world. The first elder that came into our town--viz., Jared Carter--baptized father and mother and the children that were old enough, and a number of the neighbors organized a branch of the Church, ordained father an elder and left him to preside over it. This was in January, 1832.

Father sold his farm to prepare to gather with the Saints. We moved twice in two years and in March, 1835, we moved to Kirtland, Ohio. This was the longest journey that I had ever traveled--it was 330 miles. In ten days we arrived safe, to the Stake of Zion, saw the Prophet Joseph, the commencement of a city, and foundation of a temple. Father got some land and built a house about one mile from the temple, so that we could be at the meetings and hear the instruction that was given by the Prophet and apostles. I was baptized when eight years old on Sunday, between meetings, by Elder A. W. Babbitt, in the presence of crowds of witnesses. We worked at farming, shingle making and helped build up the city and finish the temple.

All seemed to go smoothly, without much trouble till after most of the authorities of the church got their endowments, when the devil set his forces to work to see what they could do. Mobs gathered on all sides. The first elders of the church had to get away the best way they could to save their lives. They sent for their families and went to the church in Missouri. In the winter--November, December, and January of 1837--father went on a mission to Canada. I was a little over ten years old. Instead of calling on the bishop to get firewood for us, I, with the help of Charles, my younger brother who was nearly eight years old, got firewood and kept a good fire all that cold winter; and when father came home we had nearly three cords of wood piled by the house, which we had cut and hauled on a hand sled that we made. The church in Kirtland was now broken up and the poorest of the poor were left, because they could not get away. Only about ten teams were all that was in the possession of the whole of them between five and six hundred persons, but they all [Kirtland Camp] covenanted that they would go together or stay together.

This was in the spring of 1838. The presidents of the Seventy took the lead of business. They advised every man that could work to go into the country and work a few months, for horses, cattle, wagons, harnesses, money, store pay, etc., which they did. They worked and prayed and the Lord worked with them. Signs and wonders were seen and heard which caused the Saints to rejoice. One pleasant day in March, while I was at work in the woods, about one mile from the Temple, with father, Elias Pulsipher and Jesse Baker, there was a steamboat past over Kirtland in the air! It was a clear, sunshine day. When we first heard the distant noise, we all stopped work. We listened and wondered what it could be. As it drew nearer, we heard the puffing of a steamboat, intermingled with the sound of many wagons rattling over a rough stony road. We all listened with wonder but could not see what it was. It seemed to pass right over our heads; we all heard the sound of a steamboat as plain as we ever did in our lives. It passed right along and soon went out of our hearing. When it got down to the city it was seen by a number of persons. It was a large fine and beautiful boat, painted in the finest style. It was filled with people. All seemed full of joy. Old Elder Beamon, who had died a few months before was seen standing in the bow of the boat swinging his hat and singing a well known hymn. The boat went steady along over the city, passed right over the Temple and went out of sight to the west! This wonderful sight encouraged the Saints because they knew the Lord had not forgotten them. The people of Kirtland who saw the steamboat in the air said as it arrived over the Temple a part of it broke off and turned black and went north and was soon out of sight, while the boat, all in perfect shape, went to the west more beautiful and pure than before.

The power of the Lord was manifested in various ways. Angels were seen in meetings who spoke comforting words, that inasmuch as we would be faithful the Lord would help us and we should be delivered from our enemies.

In June the company met, brought in their property which had been earned and behold they had means sufficient to move all the Saints from Kirtland. The company was organized with James Foster, Zerah Pulsipher, Joseph Young, Henry Harriman, Josiah Butterfield, Benjamin Willer and Elias Smith at the head as counsellors, to lead the camp.

On the 6th of July at noon the camp started all in order. The company consisted of 515 souls--249 males, 266 females, 27 tents, 59 wagons, 97 horses, 22 oxen, 69 cows and one bull. Jonathan Dunham was the Engineer and Jonathan H. Hale was the commissary. The business of the engineer was to go thru the rich settlements and towns where he could buy provisions cheap and bring a wagon load to the camp each night. The rations were given out once a day to the several families according to their number; he that gave in money and he that had none to give, all fared alike. There was a regular order in starting; the bugle was sounded for all to rise in the morning at the same time; also to tend prayers and eat breakfast at a certain time and all started together and every wagon kept in its place.

Our enemies had threatened never to let us go out of Kirtland two wagons together, but when we got ready to start, the largest company of Saints that had ever traveled together in this generation started out in good order without an enemy to oppose us. We traveled along in fine order and after a few hundred miles we got out of money and stopped and worked about a month at Dayton, Ohio, and got means to pay our way thru to Missouri. While at Dayton the devil entered our camp and got possession of one of the sisters. She was in awful pain and talked all the time and some of the time in rhyme. The Elders administered to her. The evil spirits left her and entered another person and on being rebuked again would enter another and so continued a good part of the night. But when the devil was commanded in the name of Jesus Christ to leave the camp, he went and was very mad. He went thru the whole camp, made a roaring noise, knocked over chairs, broke table legs and made awful work.

We again pursued our journey, sometimes the weather was good and sometimes bad. Sometimes our tents would blow over in the rain storms in the night when all within--beds, people and all--would get as wet as drowned mice, but we could sleep in wet beds and not get sick by it. The people in the towns, cities and country thru which we passed looked and gazed at us as we passed along. Sometimes they tried to stop us. Once they threw eggs at us just because we were Mormons. At one certain city in Missouri the people tried to stop us. They really had the artillery placed in the street. As we came up they were determined to fire the cannon right at our company, but father talked to them till finally they gave up the notion and let us pass unmolested, except a few of our head men whom they took and cast in prison but the Lord delivered them and they came on and overtook the company the next night.

We traveled in fine order, for we would have order. If people would not obey the rules and keep good order they were labored with and if they would not repent and reform they were turned out of the company.

When we got within five miles form Far West, we were met by Joseph, Hyrum and Sidney. A happy meeting it was. They were very glad to see us because they needed help. For the enemies of the Saints had never been at rest since they drove the church from their homes at Independence in 1833. It seemed that the devil was in almost every man in Missouri. They would all declare--from the governor in his chair down to the meanest man there who would stand up and swear with a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a knife in the other, that Mormons should not stay there. Joseph directed us to camp at night around the Temple cellar in Far West and then go thirty miles north to strengthen a small settlement at Adam-ondi-Ahmon. We found the handsomest country I ever saw. We bought land and went to work building houses and mills. The mobs raged all over the country, stealing cattle and horses, burning houses and driving people from their own homes, sometimes killing men and abusing women to an extent unknown even among savages.

One man was not safe out alone for if a dozen of the mob could kill one Mormon they thought it would immortalize their names. So we had to work in companies and keep our guns with us. Every man and boy that could carry a gun went into the ranks to defend the women and children. We not only took our guns to our work but slept with them at night so as to be ready to jump at any minute, when the enemy should come. We had spent about five weeks in this way when an express came from Far West stating that a great company of mob had arrived there with the exterminating orders of Governor Boggs. Joseph and Hyrum and the twelve were prisoners and Far West was in the hands of the mob. Joseph's order to us was to give up without making resistance and all will be right.

The company who called themselves militia soon came, took us prisoners, took all our arms which was our own individual property. Soon another company came and commenced firing at the unarmed prisoners. The balls whistled all around but thank God not one of us was hurt. Our orders were: we must "leave Davis County within ten days, and leave the state before seedtime in the spring" and if one of us were found there after that time the life of a Mormon would be considered no more than that of a wolf. The mob company stayed to see that the orders were executed and while they stayed they lived on our grain, pork, beef. They would shoot down poor widows' cows right by the door, burn up fences and do all the damage they could. They would even shoot a cow and cut a rope out of the hide before she was dead, to tie a horse with. We thought this a curious land of liberty and equal rights. But there was no time to be lost, for most of the Saints had no teams; they had sold them for land and now must go and leave it. Maybe you can imagine how the few teams that were there were kept going night and day till the saints were moved from Diahmon over into Caldwell County. Now we had to leave the Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahmon and the altar upon which old Father Adam stood and gave his last blessings to his children as they were assembled in the Valley to see a father bowed down with age and hear his voice as he blessed his posterity and told what would take place down to the latest generations. It was with curious feelings that I viewed this ground and the remains of this old altar as I was driving the cows by it for the last time. We had one span of small horses to draw the goods of four families. Women and children had to walk because they could not ride for want of teams. This was a terrible sight--men, women, and children driven from their homes, to travel over the cold prairies covered with snow. After traveling all day in the cold rain and snow till our clothes were wet thru we camped at night on the bleak prairie but still we were not discouraged.

Let our foes do what they will, The Mormons will be cheerful still.

We soon got out of Davis County. We went and stayed the remainder of the winter with my oldest sister and her kind husband--Horace Burgess, four miles southwest of the city of Far West. My grandmother, Elizabeth Pulsipher--who lived with us, died on the 2nd of December, being persecuted to death in a "land of liberty."

Father went up in the Platt Country some sixty miles off and worked for money to help us out of the state of Missouri. Charles and I stayed at home and got fire wood and took care of the folks the best that we could. I can't give an account here of the sufferings of our brethren who were in prison and of the many murders that were committed, the houses that were burned, the property which was destroyed and the thousands of people that were robbed of all they possessed. This is written in the church history--some of it at least. The Saints were moving all winter to the State of Illinois. The teams kept going till all the Saints were out of Missouri. Father got means to help his own family to move which consisted of nine persons. In the month of March, 1839, we started towards Illinois in company with Horace Burgess and some of our neighbors. After traveling 200 miles, we crossed the great Mississippi River and got out of Missouri and found ourselves among a people that have some humanity. We stopped to look for a home but all the houses were full.

We heard of a large tract of vacant land in the north part of Adams County and we went to it, in a company, with Horace and his father, William Burgess, senior; we made a road into the woods, called the Bear Creek timber, and stopped three miles east of Lima and twenty miles north of Quincy.

We arrived here about the middle of April. All the team the three families had was one horse, but all used the horse and all worked together and when one killed a deer it was divided among the whole. And in fact we all seemed like one family. In about one month we had three good log houses built, 12 acres of land fenced and most of it planted to corn. We caught fish, killed game, picked greens, etc. We worked and bought some corn of the old farmers who lived at a distance around us. We made roads through the woods. One way it was seven miles to a neighbor and four to another. East and west we had neighbors within three miles. Our brethren came on and settled west of us. We had neighbors within one mile. Two miles was a larger settlement made where Isaac Morley presided. There we had good meetings and much of the spirit of the Lord. We all enjoyed ourselves first rate. This place seemed more like home than any place I ever before saw. There were no mobs to disturb. We could lie down and sleep in peace. The Lord blessed the land for us and blessed us in all our labors. We came here with one animal and in two years we had twelve head of cattle, raised plenty of grain and were well clothed--all earned by our own labor. Farming and shingle making was our principal employment.

The Saints got out of Missouri and scattered about thru Illinois and the adjoining states. The Lord delivered the prophets and elders from the prisons in Missouri, for they were innocent of any crime and the Lord would not let them be killed at that time.

When Joseph Smith got out of prison, he looked for a gathering place for the Saints. He found a place, a site for a city on the east bank of the Mississippi River. He bought the land, laid out a city which he called Nauvoo. Nauvoo was appointed by revelation a gathering place and headquarters for the Saints. The people gathered in very fast, great numbers died on account of their exposure thru the persecution of Missouri.

1840: The Lord gave a commandment that a Temple [Nauvoo] should be built to His name. It seemed almost impossible for so poor a people to build such a temple in their poverty but the Lord never requires more of men than they can perform if they will go to with their might and trust in Him. Father bought a large piece of land on the prairie one mile east of the corporation of Nauvoo and in the winter he and I went and fenced land and built a small house and prepared a place to live.

1841: In February we moved to our new home, where we had plenty of hard work to make improvements on a new farm and support a large family. At the conference on the 6th of April, I witnessed the laying of the corner stones of the temple which was done according to the order of the priesthood. An immense crowd of people was present on that occasion--all filled with joy and rejoicing. The Nauvoo legion was organized with Joseph Smith at head (which was the military force of the Church), and it was a portion of the militia of the State of Illinois. I volunteered when I was 15 years old into the 4th Company of the 5th Regiment, 2nd Cohort of the Nauvoo Legion. I attended every training and tried to learn the ways of war that I might help to defend ourselves and protect the helpless from the fury of our enemies.

1842: The temple progressed with the saints that could work at it steady. The Prophet Joseph worked with his own hands, quarrying the stone for its wells when his enemies were not pursuing him. No man knows what he suffered thru persecution. Nothing of importance transpired with me, only that I had a good father who never failed to keep plenty of work laid out to keep boys busy, or as he said, "to keep boys out of mischief." I sometimes thought he was rather hard with the children but when I became older, I was thankful that he never let me go as some of our neighbors boys did, who lived without steady work, for they were soon taken to a steady home--the State's prison.

The Saints gathered in from the states and some from England and built up the city; bought land in the country till most of Hancock County was owned by the Saints and Nauvoo was the largest city in all this upper country. But the time for peace and prosperity for Mormons had not yet come but sorrow and weepings were mixed with our joy.

1844: At 5 o'clock on the 27th of June our beloved Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum the Patriarch were shot and killed at Carthage Jail by a band of about 200 painted ruffians from Missouri and Illinois. Joseph, because of the accusation of his enemies was there waiting for his trial under the pledge of the Governor Tom Ford who pledged the fate of the state for his safety. Hyrum was merely there for company.

They were both innocent of any crime and were killed without the least form of trial. John Taylor who was a visitor there, was also shot with four balls but recovered. The enemies of the Prophet knew that he was innocent. They had tried him nearly 40 times and he had proved himself clear of all their charges and all their accusations were false. They were heard to say "the law will not touch Joe Smith but powder and ball will." Thus two of the best men that ever lived were killed and the whole nation is accessory to their death, because the murderers have boasted thru the states of their heroic deeds and the first one of them has never been punished for committing that murder and what is still more strange, is that no man has ever been punished in the United States for killing a Mormon. But I believe it has been so in all ages of the world. We have no account of a man being punished for killing a prophet of the Lord.

Some of the great men of our nation thought that if they could kill the Prophet it would stop Mormonism. They knew that unless they could stop the spread of the Gospel it would turn the world upside down and Joseph Smith would be at the top, at the head of the nation, because he had proposed a policy of government which would be for the general good of the whole nation and his views united the people and they were about to elect Joseph Smith the president of the United States. Now these great men who were in office knew if he was elected they would have to work for a living and not get $25,000.00 a year for being president and not doing anything for the good of the people. But they have missed their figure this time. By killing him, they have sealed their own damnation and not hindered the work of the Lord in the least but it goes faster than ever. Joseph Smith did more for the salvation of the human family in the short time that he lived than any other man that ever lived in the world, Jesus Christ excepted. He lived to be 39 years old and endured a continued scene of persecution and oppression from the time that the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, until the time of his death. He bore testimony to the work of the Lord thru life and sealed his testimony with his own blood.

I have been with the Prophet Joseph and heard his instruction weekly and sometimes daily. The last time I heard him speak in public he spoke to the Legion. After telling over what he had passed thru and what he had suffered from men because he preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he says: from my boyhood up to the present time I have been hunted like a roe upon the mountains. I have never been allowed to live like other men. I have been driven, chased, stoned, whipped, robbed, mobbed, imprisoned, persecuted, accused falsely of everything bad. I have suffered till the Lord knows I have suffered enough.

After the death of the Prophet Joseph, Sidney Rigdon came and sought to place himself at the head of the Church. By his flatteries he deceived many. Just before he called a vote of the public congregation, Brigham Young, the President of the Twelve, arrived from his mission. This was a joyful meeting. The faithful knew not that Joseph had ordained Brother Brigham and the Twelve to lead the Church but they knew that the Twelve were the next quorum in authority. They that served the Lord faithful were not deceived. I went to meeting where the church met in the grove east of the Temple where President Young arose and spoke and behold he spoke with the voice of Joseph. The very moment I heard him speak (August 8th) I thought of Joseph and from that time on his voice sounded like Joseph's and from that time the Church generally were satisfied that the mantle of Joseph was on Brigham. Notwithstanding all this, Sidney Rigdon, James J. Strang, Lyman Wight, James Emmet and others led away many people from the Church.

The teaching of the Twelve was to build the Temple and finish the work that Joseph had begun. The people were obedient to counsel and exerted themselves to do all they could to accomplish the work.

On February the 9th, 1845, I was ordained to the office of a Seventy at the Seventies Hall in Nauvoo. I was placed in the Second Quorum and attended the meeting regularly and got much good instruction.

Our enemies were not satisfied with what they had done, so they continued their depredations. In the small settlements in the country the mobs collected, drove our brethren from their homes, burned their houses and grain and killed some who could not get out of the way. In the fall, the mob collected in the south part of the county and in about two weeks they burned 200 houses to ashes. The inhabitants had to flee to nauvoo to save their lives. A great amount of grain and property was destroyed, cattle and hogs were stolen and killed almost without number. Old father Durfee was shot and killed by the mob while he was trying to save his property from the flames. Many others died from exposure after being robbed and driven into the wood. Their sufferings were so great that they could not endure it.

The Saints gathered into Nauvoo, labored and toiled to finish the temple. Our enemies at the same time were planning to drive us from our city and from the United States. In the fall the temple was dedicated to the Lord, thus far completed. Prayer pronounced by President B. Young. The building was finished with the exception of a little inside work which was done during the winter.

Seeing that the church could have no peace in the United States just because we were saints, our enemies were allowed to rob, mob, plunder and drive us from the pleasant homes that we have worked so hard to make; not satisfied with that they would kill without cause and without fear. All seemed combined from the head of government down. There was no peace for Mormons and no man punished for murdering them. Seeing this, President Young and the Twelve gave orders for the saints to prepare and in the spring start into the wilderness, to a place where we can hide up among the mountains till the Lord shall execute judgment among the wicked. This was joyful news to all Saints. They started with one accord to prepare to start. The winter was spent in building wagons and buying teams.

Most of the Saints, men and women, had the privilege of receiving their endowments, learning the order of the Priesthood, the fall and redemption of man, in the temple in the city of Joseph. Nauvoo was called by that name after the death of Joseph. I think it was in the month of January that I and my brother Charles received our endowments. The building was filled up in the nicest style. It was built according to the pattern that the Lord gave to Joseph. It was accepted of the Lord and His holy angels have ministered unto many therein and now because of persecution we must leave it and in leaving it we leave a monument of our industry which was reared in our poverty. It was the finest building in all the western country.

At the west and about 100 (?) feet from the ground was the following inscription in large gold letters:




Commenced April 6th, 1841

Holiness to the Lord

At the east end of the House, inside, was arched the following sentence:


President Young, learning that our enemies were planning to come and drive us, considered it best to start before they came that they might see that we were going. He invited men to come forward with teams and provisions and go as a pioneer company, to make roads and prepare the way for the Church to follow.

On the 2nd of February, father and Charles, my brother younger than I, started having fitted out a four-horse team, with father and Wm. Burgess, and loaded it with provision and seeds. They crossed the Mississippi River with the first of the pioneer company. They were out with Pres. Young and the Twelve the remainder of that cold stormy winter, working their way westward. When their provisions were gone, they went down to the nearest settlements in Missouri and worked for more. They made a road west thru the wilderness of what afterwards became the state of Iowa. Father left me at home with the instructions to sell the property, get teams and bring the family along. On account of the people all wanting to sell so they could go and as our enemies would not give much for our possessions because they thought we would leave them and they could get them without paying, we were obliged to sell for just what we could get. About $2,000 worth of property I had to sell for $300, because I could do no better. We got teams enough so as to let Horace and William Burgess, Jr.--my brothers-in-law--have a yoke of oxen each and helped Elias Pulsipher my cousin, to some team and took the family of Wm. Burgess, senior, into one of our wagons. All things being made ready, we left our home about the 20th of May and started in pursuit of the camp of Israel, with light hearts full of joy.

After traveling five days with our light teams and heavy loads, to our great joy we met father, Charles and father Burgess coming back to get us. They supposed that we had not started and they feared that our enemies would be upon us. They had given their load to the company and returned to help us. A happy meeting it was!

We traveled till we came to a settlement on the Des Moines River and then stopped and worked about two months and got some more provisions and clothing, traded horses for oxen and on the 10th of August we started again on our journey in company with Wm. Burgess, senior, Wm. Burgess, Jr., Horace Burgess and others of our neighbors. After travelling 21 days, we passed by Garden Gove and Mr. Pisgah, resting places, where poor Saints had stopped to raise crops so they could pursue their journey. We arrived at the headquarters of the Camp of Israel on the west side of the Missouri River. This was the 1st of September. The Saints were scattered from Nauvoo to this place and many had not started because they could get no teams.

Just before our arrival at this place the government officers had been to the camp with orders for 500 men to go across the deserts and mountains to help the United States fight the Mexicans. This was a scheme instituted at the head of government to destroy us while we were fleeing from persecution! They thought the men would not leave their wives and children to perish on the prairie and go across the entire continent to fight the battle of a nation who had sought their destruction all the day long. So thinking that we would refuse to obey such an unreasonable order, thereby they would have a pretence to come upon us and kill us for rebelling against the government. Pres. Young seeing thru the whole plan, soon raised the required number of men who left their families and friends among savages without houses and with but few days rations. Under these circumstances these men bid farewell to the camp of the saints and started, under Gentile officers, traveled on foot, lived on less than half rations, worked their way across trackless deserts and stony mountains without shoes, suffered hunger thirst and fatigue, yet they murmured not. The Lord was with them and gave them strength in time of need.

Had I arrived soon enough I expect I should have been with that company but I was at work at another place and they were gone before I heard of it. This was rather a trying time to have 500 of our best men taken,leaving their helpless families as well as the widows, the sick and lame that were on our hands before. The able bodied men that were in camp were few compared with the invalids and widows that looked to those few men for their support. Seeing that it was impossible to cross the Rocky Mountains with such an unwieldy company this fall, Pres. Young selected a place to stay thru the winter. We selected a site on the flat of the Missouri River twelve miles below Old Council Bluffs. We moved to the spot and after cutting an enormous sight of hay, all hands enjoyed in building houses and digging caves and dens to winter in. Eight hundred log houses were built in a few weeks. My father in his old age, myself and brother Charles helped to build many of them. William, my youngest brother, herded the cattle. (He was 8 years old.)

Just as we had moved to this location which we call Winter Quarters, Daniel H. Wells and Wm. Cutler arrived from Nauvoo--said that a Battle had been fought in Nauvoo. Before the Saints all got started, not being able to sell their property so they could make a fitout, the mobs continued to howl around like hungry wolves for the spoil, raised an army from Illinois and Missouri and other places to the number of 12 or 1500 men. I said MEN, but I think the right name is Devils, in human shape. Well, this host of ruffians came commanded by the notorious anti-Mormons, or in other words--savage christians, who were notorious for their zeal in seeking the destruction of Joseph and the Church that he led and laid down his life for. They supposed it would be an easy job to immortalize their name, by coming at this time when the Legion was gone and only about 100 of the poor crippled Saints left, who were mostly old and unable to run.

As I said before, this mob force knowing there was no organized force in Nauvoo, and knowing also the Mormons had given up their arms to the State by order of Gov. Ford, they thought there would be no danger, so they did actually come to put an end to the Mormons that could be found there.

Here the Lord showed forth his power in the deliverance of his Saints he inspired them with the Spirit of Fight, they were themselves as well as possible. Every man got something that he could knock the life out of them with. For cannon they got down old steamboat shafts and bored holes in, which, by the blessing of the Lord did well.

So when the enemy came they were warmly received--a hard battle ensued but they were beat back and could not get possession of the City although they tried for 3 days and could gain no power, were loosing their men by hundreds. They had sense enough to see that such a curse would not pay so they began to sue for peace, and thus ended the famous battle, being 3 of the Saints killed, who were not strictly obedient to counsel, and from 150 to 200 of the other party were left for Dung on the Land. By the officers of the State interfering the Saints were required to again give up their arms and then to move across the Mississippi River into the Territory of Iowa.

This move caused much suffering and many deaths; some hundreds of families mostly women and children with the sick turned out to the scorching heat of the sun and the storms in that sickly season--but the Lord was merciful to them and when they were about to suffer with hunger, countless numbers of quails were sent into the camp and so tame that the people could catch them with their hands and cook and satisfy hunger.

I can see some good has been done by the mob's coming and driving the remainder of the Saints from Nauvoo for some thought so much of their fine homes that they could not have them and go with the Church till they were driven and when they had lost all they could--the Lord. (sic.) They scattered out through Iowa, went to work and soon earned means to gather with the Church and soon apostatized, as common in all general moves.

Friday, April 27, 2012

In Their Own Words: Nathan Smith

The following biography of Nathan Smith Sr. was written by his granddaughter, Nellie Margaret Griffiths Quinney (daughter of William Griffiths and Margaret Smith).

If persistence had not been one of the chief characteristics of William P. Smith, this story may never have been written, for as tradition has it, the parents of Mary Grimshaw strenuously objected to him as a son-in-law, and pointed out to their daughter the fine characteristics of William's rival. However, his perseverance eventually overcame their opposition and he and Mary were married.

The first child born of this union was Nathan. He made his advent at Bury, Lancashire, England, March 1, 1835.

When he was but seven years old his father joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through the influence of a very intimate friend who had joined the Church previously. The first time William attended "Mormon" meetings it is said "he went to scoff but remained to pray." He was a fine singer and was invited to come up in front and help with the singing. Before long he and his family were in the Church.

They set sail for America that same year (1842). The family consisting of Nathan 7, Maria 2, and baby Alice, three weeks old. They were seven weeks on the water, landing at New York City, where they resided one year, then continued their journey toward the body of the Saints who were at Nauvoo. They traveled by water--it being the least expensive, by way of the Gulf of Mexico and up the Mississippi River. When but a day or two's journey from their destination, the little child, Maria, died, and was buried on an island in the river. Nathan always grieved deeply over the loss of this little sister, as she had been his constant companion and playmate. However, they were compelled to go on with their boat to Nauvoo and leave the little one in her lonely burial place, knowing the first high water would unearth her and carry her along in its muddy depths.

The family remained in Nauvoo five years where two more children were born. The father, William, worked some time on the temple and Nathan assisted by carrying water.

Nathan saw the Prophet often. He was especially thrilled when he saw him dressed in his uniform (military) riding down the street on his beautiful black horse. He said the Prophet never missed an opportunity to speak kindly to the children.

The family stood by during the martyrdom of the Prophet and his brother, Hyrum, and endured the persecutions by the mobs and when the majority of the saints, plucked and peeled, were driven out of Nauvoo, it was impossible for them to go, as the mother and two children were ill with fever and lay insensible to all about them. Armed men came and ordered them to leave, but the father appealed to them for sympathy and they were allowed more time. The house was searched for guns and ammunition but none were found. The mob had been seen approaching and the father had hurriedly passed the guns and ammunition through a hole (in the chinking) between the logs in the back part of the house, to Nathan outside who hid them in the corn patch.

On the 16th day of October, 1846, they started for Utah. Their outfit consisted of one horse, one ox, and an old wagon with no cover. The weather was cold and wet, and through exposure, the mother suffered very poor health. They, with others, had left Nauvoo in an almost destitute condition. They had scant clothing and very little to eat, however, with stout hearts they moved westward. Ere long they had exhausted their scanty food supply and the winter winds were already beginning to blow. They were many miles from help in either direction, but they had faith that the Lord, who they had sacrificed so much to follow, would not forsake them. When they had reached the extreme point of their endurance, a cold west wind began to blow and to add to their misery, snow began to fall; but when despair was in their hearts, flocks of quail began drifting into their camp. They came with the snowfall, from they knew not where, as their hunters had searched far and near and had found nothing. "It was indeed Manna from Heaven". Nathan helped gather these birds from under wagons and other places where they fell seeking shelter.

They stopped at Ferryville near Council Bluffs, to rest and recuperate, and the father William was called to preside over that branch of the Church while they were there. They stayed there five years and Nathan and his father operated a ferry boat. Here they saved enough to equip their own outfit; they also acquired some sheep and cattle.

In 1852 (Nathan was then 15 years old), they resumed their journey, overtaking Captain Wheelock's company. Cholera broke out among the people and many died and were buried on the plains. Nathan contracted the disease and later said he was saved from death only by his mother's faith and her warm catnip tea. They later separated from the company and under the leadership of Captain McCray arrived in great Salt Lake City, October 6th, 1852, being only seven weeks on the Plains. In ten days more they had moved to Little Cottonwood. They endured the hard times incident to the grasshopper invasion and had been in Utah only five years when the mother, Mary Grimshaw Smith, died, leaving seven children, the youngest only a few months old. This baby also died a short time later. The eldest daughter, Alice, cared for the family in her mother's stead, until her marriage, a few years later, to George Done, Sr.

A pathetic and inspiring incident is connected with the death of this baby whose name was John. While he lay critically ill, a little brother Thomas, aged four years, stood gazing out of the window. All at once he exclaimed, "Come quick, here is mother." Members of the family ran to the window but could see nothing unusual. Tommy said, "Can't you see her, she's standing on the chopping block. She is coming for Johnny at seven o'clock in the morning." And at seven o'clock the following morning, the baby passed away.

This child, Thomas, grew to manhood; he and a companion went to Burnt Fork, Wyoming to get out logs. While there another man, Owen by name, joined them. Tom was of large powerful stature-being six feet three or four inches tall. He could fell more trees in an hour than most men. Owen was jealous and asked Tom to trade axes. This Tom declined to do. A little quarreling ensued and the next morning when Tom was reaching up in a tree, to cut some steaks from a venison, this man, Owen, shot him through the back. The bullet passed through one kidney and paralyzed his legs. He cried out to his companion, "Run for your life, I'm shot." His companion ran and also the assassin. Tom crawled four miles to the main road, dragging himself along by his elbows. Here he was picked up and put into a wagon and taken to the nearest settlement. He was still conscious when found and told the story but died before help could be reached. The murderer was hunted for a long time, but was never apprehended.

While celebrating the tenth anniversary of the coming of the pioneers to Utah, July 24th, 1857, at what is now called Brighten, two messengers, Porter Rockwell and A.O. Smoot, arrived from Independence without the mail. The postmaster refused to forward it. They reported that General Harney with two thousand infantry and a proportionate number of cavalry and artillery were marching on Utah. General Johnston took command of these troops a short time later. General Daniel H. Wells, recently of the Nauvoo Legion, left Great Salt Lake City immediately with 1,200 men for Echo Canyon where they engaged in throwing up breastworks and otherwise fortifying themselves against the enemy. Nathan was one of these men. They had a very strategic position. The Lord surely had foreseen this time and prepared for the defense of the Saints. The General commanded a number of bonfires to be built some distance apart. A few men would march around one fire, pass behind the rocks and then march around another. The enemy believing they were greatly outnumbered feared to attack. They were held in check by the maneuvers of the Mormons without the loss of a life until matters were settled peaceably.

The Indians were also making trouble and Nathan was sent with twenty men to Deer Creek to guard the mail. He often rode the pony express and could always be relied upon to discharge his duty with the utmost resourcefulness and integrity.

He moved to Cache Valley in the spring of 1860 and settled at Summit Creek -- so called because of its position on a high, gravelly summit on the east side of the valley about seven miles north of Logan. Through the middle of this summit dashes a clear, cold mountain stream on its turbulent way to Bear River. This settlement was later renamed Smithfield, in honor of John A. Smith, who was the first bishop called to preside over the saints there. Nathan lived there in the fort among the first families and he and George Done, his brother-in-law, cut and hauled the logs for the first meeting house. He took his turn watching with the minute men during the Indian trouble.

In 1861, he and Lacy Larimy were sent with others of Utah to Mission Valley to assist poor saints to Utah. They carried with them fresh provisions and also their oxen were used to the mountain atmosphere and water, which so often caused sickness to the plains cattle. Once when some days out from Utah, they met a company coming west. Of course they visited awhile before resuming their journey, exchanging news from Utah and the old country. In this company was John Sant and his family. His daughter Jane met Nathan and after he had gone on she told her sister she had met the man she was going to marry. Her mother overheard her and reminded her that she might never see him again and besides he may already be married. "I don't care if he has ten wives," said Jane, "If I ever marry it will be to that man." (I imagine he might well have made a dazzling impression on any girl with his tall, square physique and shining dark eyes. He had a genial disposition and capability radiating from him; in fact, I think he must have been a young man with personality plus.)

The Sants settled in Smithfield as the oldest son, who had emigrated previously, was already there. (The fact that Nathan Smith lived there may have had nothing to do with it. However, it is said that Jane had a way of getting whatever she wanted from her father). So when Nathan returned home, a short courtship followed and he and Jane were married the 3rd of October 1862 in the Endowment House at Great Salt Lake City. The following spring Nathan again went to the Mission Valley, returning in the fall.

In the spring of 1871 he moved to Idaho and settled where Banida now is. The country then was generally known as Battle Creek after a more or less famous fight with the treacherous Shoshone Indians. It was a battle in which the squaws also participated and only ended after exterminating all the Indians, with the exception of one or two who escaped to make future trouble farther north. This new country was a large flat plateau with low rolling hills and covered with a wilderness of grass and wild hay. He went here to procure range for his father's cattle which he ran on shares. In September of that year, my own mother was born--being the 5th child.

As this section grew in population, his home became the center for music and entertainment. His wife Jane had a fine contralto voice and he a pleasing baritone. They acquired an accordion and banjo, which most of the children learned to play. They and their family formed the nucleus for the choir for church gatherings and also those of a social nature.

When the railroad was first extended into Idaho, his ranch became the terminus. It was about one and one-half blocks from their house. During the construction of the railroad the family ran a boarding house for the construction men. Here his beef cattle were used to excellent advantage.

From this point he freighted to Montana, driving by himself four yoke of oxen on two wagons. He made his own yokes, bows and bow keys, hewing them out with an axe and drawing knife. He braided his own bull whips from calf hides, which he cured and tanned, and taught his children this art also (Mother, Margaret, braided six and eight strand nicely). He repaired his own wagons replacing worn parts of the wheels and setting the tires, which he did by heating the rims in a sagebrush fire until they were red hot and then hammering them on the wheel while they were in this expanded condition. He also did much work of this nature for his neighbors and friends.

During the mining fever at Caribou he transported by wagon and horse team, miners and their equipment to and from the mines to the railroad at Banida.

Throughout hard times, wars, pestilence, and struggle for a livelihood, Nathan was always devoted to his Church and his God which he earnestly served. He grew and advanced in the Priesthood. He was honest and industrious, always setting a proper example for his children to follow. He was a staunch believer in the old axiom "Early to bed and early to rise, etc." One night while waiting for the family to gather in their accustomed circle for family prayers, he removed his shoes and stockings in preparation for bed, and when they were gathered round he began the prayer. The kitten hadn't yet been put out for the night, and when he saw Nathan's bare toes he padded softly up, put out one paw and tickled the toes a little. Of course, Nathan moved his foot, which pleased the kitten very much. Thinking it a game he stretched forth his paw and tickled the toes again, when the tickling became unendurable, he stopped, turned around and said "Scat", vehemently, and then proceeded with the prayer, and if the titterings of the circle were the least bit audible, he had too much good sense to mention it.

The hard words he used when he was provoked were a joke among his children. At one time he was trying to get a colt into the barn. The colt was stubborn and would neither be led nor driven. He tried various means of persuasion but to no avail. One of the girls, watching him, said, "Father's getting angry, listen and you'll soon hear him swear," and in a minute they heard him say, "Get in there or I'll knock the mischief out of you."

Another instance - some of the boys were trying to ride a frisky young horse, but none of them could stick on him. Nathan thought he could, but he had hardly touched his back until he found himself, much to his surprise, sitting on the ground. To his children's delight he said, "My conscience, I'm off." Truly, profanity never passed his lips.

I recall several incidents of pioneer days wherein many of the cattle sickened and died from various causes, sometimes from drinking alkali water and sometimes from eating poisonous plants which came up by the roots after heavy rains, perhaps there were other causes. Cattle, of course, was Nathan's specialty. While skinning a poisoned animal, Nathan cut one of his fingers. The poison quickly spread through the blood stream and he became very ill but through his great faith and that of his family, he recovered and was able to continue his pursuit of a livelihood. However, the infection left him with a crippled hand, the injured finger permanently drawn forward and a condition in the food canal which almost always caused him great discomfort and pain while eating. I remember watching him in awe during these seizures but do not remember ever hearing a word of complaint.

The brightest spots in my memory of him are of the times he bounced me on his knee to the tune of many old and lively songs. He carried lemon drops in his pockets, which he called "sour drops" and always delighted his grandchildren with a treat of this homely sweet.

He and his adored wife, Jane, were the parents of twelve children, ten of which grew to maturity and have large families of their own.

He died of pneumonia at the home of his sister, Alice Smith Done in Smithfield, January 20, 1909, just prior to his 74th birthday. He is buried in the Smithfield cemetery.

For the purposes of completeness only, I wish to make mention of the fact that in later years, grandpa and grandma separated, however, they were never divorced. Doubtless there were many contributing causes, I think. Neither of them were really happy afterward. It was a step which both probably regretted to the fullest extent, but the dominant characteristic of perseverance or perhaps some might term stubbornness in the Smith make-up made him stick to the right as he saw it regardless of the cost. His posterity may be justly proud to have descended from a sire so noble and who so ably performed his share and more of the great work of pioneering the West.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

In Their Own Words: Agnes Elizabeth Austin

The following is an autobiography written by Agnes Elizabeth Austin, daughter of William Austin and Agnes McIntier. She married James Rowley Ransom. There are also additions by Verna Ransom Sederholm (daughter), Elvina Ransom (daughter) and Ruth Burton Pierce (granddaughter).

By Agnes Elizabeth Austin:

I, Agnes Elizabeth Austin Ransom, daughter of William Austin and Agnes Elizabeth McIntire, was born February 17, 1861, at Logan, Cache County, Utah. When I was three years of age my parents were called by the authorities of the Church to go and help settle Bear Lake Valley. We moved there in the spring of 1864, settling at Bloomington. There were only a few families living there at the time. My father, being a minute man, would help guard the women and children from Indian raids. The Indians were very numerous there during the spring and summer until they left for their winter hunting grounds. My father was a great friend of the Indians. They would come for miles to shake hands with him before leaving in the fall. Father had charge of the fast offerings. These consisted of flour, butter, eggs, and etc. The bishop of the ward would send the Indians to our house for some of it. They would gather so thick in and around the house that we children had to get in one corner and sit very still. There was hardly room to pass in and out.

It was quite hard times in Bear Lake Valley at this time. For several years the grasshoppers had taken the gardens and crops. They were so thick that when they traveled, they would darken the sun, and when they lighted, everything was soon devoured.

Father always kept a few sheep, and in the spring of the year, when they were sheared, Mother and Aunty (Aunty was Father's first wife), would wash the wool, card it into rolls, then spin it into yarn. Some of this yarn they would have woven into cloth. At this time Mother didn't have a loom of her own, so she would have to hire the yarn woven. Some of the yarn was used for knitting stockings. I learned to knit while I was very young, and as I grew older I learned to card rolls, spin yarn, and get it ready to weave. I am thankful that my mother taught me these things, along with housekeeping, for it has been a great blessing in my life.

Mother taught school for a term or two at Bloomington. The families that had children attending would pay a small fee for each child. It was my privilege to attend this school taught by my mother.

I remember well President Brigham Young coming to Paris, Bear Lake Valley, to hold conference. Paris at that time was headquarters for the stake. For days everyone looked forward to his coming, and on the morning of his arrival, every boy and girl, grownups as well, would line up along the streets a little south of Bloomington to greet him. President Brigham Young rode in the first carriage, followed by other carriages containing apostles and other church dignitaries. After the company had passed everyone would fall in line and march back to Bloomington, then Father would hitch the team to the wagon and take the family to Paris to attend conference.

Father had to haul provisions by team and wagon through the mountains from Logan, Utah. This trip required several days. This, together with the hard cold winters and heavy snowfall, was becoming too hard and strenuous on Father, who was getting along in years, so he decided to move his family away from Bloomington. In the fall of 1871 we moved to Weston, Idaho. While we were living there, I became a member of the Relief Society Organization, and at this time I am still a member of that organization.

We lived at Weston four years, then Father took a homestead of 160 acres of land at Trenton, Utah, and we moved there in the spring of 1875. I worked out much of the time at Trenton. Many times I have washed on the board all day long for fifty cents. I worked at housework too, and in addition to the housework I had to spin one pound of yarn every day. The wages I received were one dollar per week, and sometimes less. While living at Trenton, I made the acquaintance of James Rowley Ransom, and after nearly two years of courtship we were married. Elder William Van Orden Carbine performed the ceremony December 13, 1879, at Clarkston, Cache County, Utah. Later on, when the Logan Temple was finished, we went through and had our endowments and were sealed together for time and eternity. This was on October 29, 1884. Apostle Marrioner W. Merrills was president of the Temple, and he performed the ceremony.

James had taken up a homestead at Trenton before we were married, about the fall of 1876 or the spring of 1877. We lived on this homestead until the fall of 1887, then we moved to Cleveland, Idaho. We settled on Cottonwood Creek and lived there four years, then in the year of 1891 James took up a piece of land under the preemption right on the divide between Cache and Gentile Valleys. Here we made our home throughout the years of our lives.

We were blessed with eleven children, four boys and seven girls, and, with the exception of one baby who died at birth, all of our children grew to maturity. On April 21, 1921, we were called to part with one of our daughters. She left a husband and a one week old baby girl. Our children are all active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My husband and two of my sons have filled missions for the Church. In April, 1899, my husband was called to fill a mission in the Northwestern States. My oldest daughter, Mary, was married, and my two oldest sons, James, 17, and William, 15, were my only support. In August of that year I gave birth to a baby girl. We had much sickness and hardships during my husband's absence, but the Lord was merciful to us and blessed us and we came through all right. He filled an honorable mission and returned home in April, 1901.

In the spring of 1905 I was called and set apart as visiting teacher in the Relief Society of Cleveland Ward. My husband, James, set me apart. I held this position until 1916, when the Cleveland Ward was divided and a ward was organized on the Divide. This new ward was named Wilson Ward and was organized July 31, 1916. My eldest son James was called to the office of Bishop to preside over this ward.

I was chosen and set apart as second counselor to President Mary Lundgreen in the Relief Society Organization. I was set apart by Bishop James A. Ransom, and I held this position until 1922, when the Wilson Ward was disorganized and made part of the Cleveland Ward once more.

July 16, 1908, my husband and I were called by President Louis S. Pond of the Bannock Stake to the Logan Temple to receive our second endowments.

The Lord has been merciful to me and has heard and answered my prayers. I have often heard the whisperings of the Lord, sometimes as plain as if some one near me had spoken. I recall many incidents in my life when the Spirit of the Lord has prompted me and these whisperings and promptings have been a light and guidance to me in my life, and I know that I have been blessed through the Spirit of the Lord.

My husband passed away July 25, 1926, at the age of 70 years. 108 living descendants survived.

Agnes Elizabeth Austin was baptized by Elder William Hulme May 7, 1971, confirmed by Elder George Osmond May 14, 1871, at Bear Lake, Idaho. She died 24 December 1938, was buried at Cleveland, Idaho, 28 December 1938. The grave was dedicated by George R. Burton, grandson. She died at Preston, Idaho.

My husband, James Rowley Ransom, died July 25, 1926, and on January 16, 1927 he came to me early in the morning. I had been awake and was going to get up but must have dropped to sleep. He told me that I had not paid tithing enough for him in 1926. I asked him why he had not told me that before, that I was afraid it was too late then as they were auditing the books. Oh, he was so natural, not poor and thin as we laid him away. I begged of him to stay but he said he had to go back, that he had just come to tell me about the tithing and then he went and I awoke broken hearted.

Our son James was in the bishopric at the time and I told him my dream, (if it was a dream,) but it seems too real to be a dream. James told me not to feel so bad about it, that he would see what he could do about it. So he went to the auditor and had it straightened out. He found that my mistake it had been placed to my credit instead of his father's. I was thankful to my Heavenly Father that James got there in time to give his father the credit that belonged to him. And it was and is a testimony to me that our loved ones that have died know what is going on here on earth and know what we do and are watchful of us.

Mrs. Agnes E. Austin Ransom
Treasureton, Idaho


By Verna Ransom:

I am going to add here at the close of this biographical sketch a few of the outstanding characteristics that we have come to know and respect in the life of our mother. Her faith in God, her love and devotion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and her willingness to acknowledge the hand of the Lord in all things, however great or small, has always been an inspiration to me. And I know that my life, as well as the lives of all her children, has been influenced for good by this wonderful trait of character. Her life was always one of love and devotion to her family. She rendered cheerful and willing service when and wherever she could.

In the later years of her life her health failed, retarding her activities greatly, but with her faith and strong determination and will to do so, she kept active at home tasks and among her flowers. Her flower garden was one of the most beautiful in the community. She supplied flowers each Sunday morning for the Ward Chapel.


Poem by Elvina Ransom:


When God created this great world
And made both day and night,
He placed here everything to make
It beautiful and bright.

The water with it's sparkling rills
And birds that sing so sweet,
The warm, bright sun to shine upon
The flowers at our feet.

He made the moon to shine at night,
The stars far without number.
He made the hills all crowned in green
Where all the beasts might wander.

Then placed His many children here
To beautify creation,
To love and live that they might make
A Holy Habitation.

Then gazing at His work to see
If there were any others,
"Ah me!" He said, "Will never do
Without some loving mothers."

He then placed Mothers here to fill
A great and glorious space,
And what could bring more pleasure
Than that kind sweet smiling face?

So as 'twas said of long ago
I now again repeat.
It takes a loving mother
To make a world complete.


By Ruth Burton Pierce (written on December 4, 1975):

We lived in a small settlement called the Divide, between Treasureton and Cleveland, Idaho. We received our mail from Treasureton, but we belonged to the Cleveland L. D. S. Ward. Our nearest town was Preston, also our nearest doctor was in Preston, and in those horse and buggy days that seemed a great distance away; so when illness came we depended on the Lord, with the help of our grandmother.

Just to know that Grandmother lived near gave us a sense of security. When Grandmother came when we had sickness in the family we all felt that everything would soon be better and it usually turned out that way. She knew many home remedies which seemed to help us. She seemed to have the gift of healing and a deep faith which gave comfort to us all.

Grandmother was there when I was born. My father had driven on a blizzardy November night to bring Grandmother and a midwife, Mary Lundgreen. Mrs. Lundgreen brought most of the babies into the world in that part of the country. Aunt Lottie Walton, not a relative, but we all called her Aunt, stayed with Mother while Daddy went in a sleigh on a very cold night to get help. My Aunt Verna Sederholm remembers holding me after I was washed and dressed, so she probably came with Grandmother. At this time we lived on Cottonwood Creek.

I remember when my sister Agnes was so sick Grandma would come and seemed to know how to help the pain. Later we learned of a disease called rheumatic fever, which is possibly what my sister had. It seemed to me that Grandmother had healing in her hands.

When I was about four years old and we lived in the "hollow", Mother would put a pretty clean dress on me, comb my long dark hair into ringlets, and send me up on the hillside to get a fresh flower to pin in my hair. Very often the flower would be a Sego Lily. Then Mother would say, "Now you can go over to Grandma's and say Good Morning." This was very special to me to walk through the lucerne and wheat fields all by myself. I knew I would be greeted with love and affection by my grandparents and my aunts and uncles.

I remember vividly walking home from school with my sisters and my cousins. We would always stop in the doorway of Grandmother's home. Then she would say, "Would you like a piece of bread and butter?" We were very bashful and would say bashfully, "We don't care." Of course we wouldn't miss that delicious home-made bread and butter for anything. Grandfather Ransom would tease us and say, "That's too bad. If you really want some, then say, 'Yes, please." Grandma's bread and butter was the most delicious I have ever eaten. Sometimes she put jam or jelly on big slices of bread. Oh, how heavenly! Often there was a cookie for us.

Grandmother loved her garden and grew such a variety of vegetables. I can see her now with her large hat on to protect her from the sun, guiding the stream of mountain water down the long rows of cabbage, corn, beans, squash, peas and onions and many other kinds of vegetables. In the fall when beans were ripe, Grandmother would ask the grandchildren to come and help shell them. Then she would store them for the winter use. So Agnes and Ila and I, along with Ethel, George, Mary, Jim and Vera from Aunt Mary's family, would all go down into the garden to shell beans. A large canvas was put on the ground, then the beans were placed on the canvas, and we would jump on the dry bean pods, or sometimes shell them with our hands. We would then hold them up high and let the chaff blow away. The pile of beans would grow larger and larger. Sometimes we were given a salt sack full of beans to take home with us. When we were finished, all tired but happy, Grandmother would have a delicious dinner waiting for her hungry grandchildren. That would be a perfect ending for that special day.

Our great delight was to be asked to Sunday dinner at Grandmother's. She was an excellent cook and so clean that it was often said that people would rather eat off her clean scrubbed floor than to eat off most people's tables. This was an old saying used by old-fashioned people.

Thanksgiving Day was a special treat as we all gathered at Grandmother's house for dinner and to give thanks for our blessings. As usual, the pond would be frozen over and we would skate on the thick ice with our cousins, sometimes with our uncles and aunts. We would sing Thanksgiving songs we had learned in school. Oh, the heavenly smells which would float out to us in the frosty air. When dinner was ready we would all gather around to hear Grandfather give a blessing on the food and express thanks to our Heavenly Father. In those days the grown-ups always ate first and the children waited. It seemed forever as they all ate their fill. We would anxiously wait to see if there would be food left for us children. When finally our turn came to eat there was always plenty. And how we did enjoy the turkey with stuffing, the many kinds of vegetable and Oh! The cakes and the pumpkin and mincemeat pies, all so delicious. It was good to feel the blessings of the year, and to express thanks for the things we were thankful for, as each of us were asked to do.

Grandmother loved flowers. Every seed was so precious to her. She often exchanged flower seeds with relatives and friends, and she often came home with a different kind of flower seeds tied up in the corner of her handkerchief, and with these seeds, along with her own, she created a thing of beauty. This beautiful creation was not alone for her own enjoyment, but for every one who came to her home. Everyone was greeted by Grandmother and made happy by a handful of her flowers. The flowers blossomed in every nook and corner around her humble home. Heavenly blue morning glories covered the east side of the house; their bright faces always turned toward the sun. Many varieties of old fashioned flowers such as bachelor button, hollyhocks, buttercups, daisies, larkspur, pansies and roses, with dozens of other varieties decorated the yard and home surroundings. Grandmother had a special gift for making things grow.

One of my favorite places to visit on a warm summer day was the ice house which Grandfather had built. A stream of cool water ran through one corner of the ice house. The stream of water came from a nearby spring, then it emptied into a pond which Grandfather had also made. From the pond he would cut large blocks of ice during the winter months, then store them in sawdust in the icehouse. This made a cool storehouse during the summer months. The long cold Idaho winters helped to preserve the ice for summer use. Oh, the sheer joy of entering this ice house on a hot summer day, to hear the cool water running, and to take a good deep breath of clean cold air. This ice house served many purposes. Overhead hung the long thin sacks of home made sausages, salt sacks of head cheese, all made by Grandmother. There was salt cured pork, smoked ham, and at times fresh mutton hung from the ceiling rafters. On each side of the ice house Grandfather had built shelves where the fresh milk was set in large tin milk pans. Grandma would skim the thick cream from the milk and put it aside until there was enough cream to make butter. When there was cream enough, Grandmother would put it into a tall wooden churn, and up and down, up and down, she churned until the butter came. The butter was then put into a large wooden bowl, washed in cold water, then worked with a butter paddle until all the buttermilk was worked out. She then molded the butter into a 16 ounce pound of rich yellow butter. This was by far the most delicious butter I have ever eaten. The buttermilk was saved, and then Grandmother would make pancakes for breakfast. The pancakes were so tender they'd melt right in your mouth. The butter was stored in the ice house, which served very well as a refrigerator.

Crocks of preserved fruits were also kept in this cool house. A large barrel of salt pickles stood in one corner. Grandmother put the small cucumbers in the salt brine in the fall and by the time spring came they would be cured and ready to eat. They tasted so good in the spring of the year, and people have said they would drive for miles just to eat one of these delicious salt pickles. I would like to say right here, too, that no one was ever turned away from my Grandmother's home cold or hungry. If they needed a place to sleep for the night, this she willingly provided.

One of my special memories was the 24th of July. My grandparents would load their white top buggy, or wagon perhaps. With lots of thick cream and milk, sugar, etc., the big ice cream freezer, and ice, and all it takes for ingredients for ice cream, then drive the five miles to Cleveland to celebrate this special occasion. Grandmother would then, after arriving at their destination, stir up a batch of ice cream, pour it into the freezer, then Grandfather would put ice and salt around the freezer and go to work turning the freezer handle around and around until the ice cream was frozen just right and ready to eat. This process was repeated throughout the day until everyone who wished it was served a dish of home made ice cream. The children would gather around to get a dish of ice cream, or for a second serving, perhaps. Then at night, my grandparents would gather up all their dishes and things and drive back home, tired but happy for their day of service. Everyone had a good enjoyable time at the 24th of July celebration, and one long to be remembered. The sports for the day consisted of baseball games and foot races and other games for the children. Prizes were awarded the winners. A program was usually held in the meeting house. One thrilling event that I will always remember, for, being just a child, it frightened me, was when several couples of men and women would dress up in pioneer costumes. I especially remember the ladies wearing their large sunbonnets. Then they'd take a few children and get into about a half dozen covered wagons and enact a scene of crossing the plains. As they drove peacefully along, a band of young men dressed as Indians, with feather and war paint, came galloping in on their war ponies, yelling and whooping, and made an attack on the wagon train. With the attack the wagon train horses would become so frightened they'd run; people and horses and wagons would scatter every which way. The women and children screamed, and the scene became very realistic. Some of the people re-enacting the play had in reality crossed the plains in the early Mormon trek. They seemed to enjoy the excitement displayed in the re-enactment scene.

My grandfather owned and operated a sawmill, and at times I would go with my Aunt Elvina to the sawmill for a week and help her cook for Grandfather and Uncles Jim, Will, John and Tom. One particular time, I remember it so well, I went with Grandfather and Grandmother to the mill on Hoopes Creek. My uncles were already there. We rode in a wagon, and when we were almost there Grandma said, "Ruth, let's you and me walk the rest of the way." We were glad to walk for a change; the scenery was so beautiful. The pine trees grew on every side and wild flowers were in bloom everywhere. Their fragrance was so good to smell. Grandfather reached the camp before we did and the boys, thinking there were no women folks to cook for them, felt very disappointed. When they finally saw us coming, walking along the road, they began to shout. They knew Grandmother would cook good food for them to eat. The first thing they asked for was a cake for supper. Although there was no milk to make the cake with, Grandmother went ahead to make one any way, using water and a bit more shortening, and the cake turned out delicious, just so light and fluffy.

My uncles were always good to me, and I endured much good natured teasing. Uncle John ran the steam engine for the mill, and every time he saw me crossing the narrow foot bridge over a stream of water he would blow the whistle and I'd fall off into the water. We had a wonderful week.

Another pleasant memory I have of my early years is of being permitted to stay overnight at Grandmother's house. I was always made to feel so welcome. My uncles were jolly and we had fun. But most of all I remember the summers, and of sleeping out under the big shade trees at the south of the house, and sleeping with my aunts, Elvina and Verna. I liked to lie awake and listen to the leaves whispering in the soft night breeze. I could hear the frogs croaking down near the pond of water, and I could hear the twittering of the birds in the trees as they settled down for the night. We would lie in bed and talk and tell stories until sleep quietly overtook us, then we'd have a perfect night's rest.

On this special occasions, morning came all too soon, and Grandfather would wake us up by playing the record, "Oh, it's nice to get up in the morning, but it's nicer to lie in bed." We'd get up to find Grandmother already in the kitchen with hot delicious buttermilk pancakes for breakfast, and with plenty of butter and home made jelly for topping.

One morning as I was sleeping in the east bedroom with Aunt Elvina, she said, "Ruth, wake up, wake up. Look out of the window and see Haley's Comet." This was in the early morning hours some time between four and five o'clock. I opened my eyes to look and there it was, a big bright star with a long light shiny tail behind it. Aunt Elvina asked me to always remember seeing Haley's Comet. I believe this was in the year 1910, and I would have been seven years old.

It was fun to be at Grandmother's house when my uncles brought the cows in from "over north". Now "over north" was any place north of my home and it took in miles and miles of forest land, and it made good pasture land for the cows. As the boys brought the cows down the lane toward the barn they'd call out, "Lumpy Dick for supper. Lumpy Dick for supper." Then Grandma would get out flour, heat some milk, add a pinch of salt and a good sized lump of butter, and in no time at all the lumpy dick was really to eat. We'd eat it with cream and sugar and a little cinnamon on top, and it was so good.

My first time to take a trip was with Grandpa and Grandma Ransom. They took me to Hyrum, Utah, to visit my Aunt Elvira and Uncle Fred Andersen. We went to Preston with team and wagon, then took the train in to Hyrum. I was nine years old and very bashful. On the table at every meal was a large bowl of fruit, so I naturally thought they were rich people. In Idaho fruit was scarce and we never had a variety of fruits. After a few days with them we returned to Preston, and as it was late at night, we stayed overnight in a hotel room. This was my first time to sleep in a hotel. I remember we had ham and eggs for breakfast and Grandpa told me I must eat all that was on my plate. It was a big plate and so full of food, that, try as I would, I could not eat all of it. After breakfast Grandpa got his team of horses from the livery stable, hitched them up to the wagon again and we went back home.

For a couple of years we lived at Cambridge, Idaho, a small community near Downey, Idaho, so my mother and grandmother made a trade. I was to go to help Grandma and Aunt Elvina was to come to Cambridge to help Mother. Frank Kropf (my cousin Ethel's husband) and my cousin George Burton took Aunt Elvina to Oxford, Idaho, where she took the train to Downey, to be picked up there by Daddy, and I took the next train out of Downey and went to Oxford. Here someone was waiting to take me to Grandma's. I stayed with my grandparents for a couple of weeks. I remember going to Preston with them, where Grandma bought a piece of gingham and made me a pretty dress.

Later on we moved back home, near to my grandparents, and I went to Preston to live with Mother's cousin, Myrtle Goff, so I could attend Preston High School. Sometimes Grandmother came to Preston and took me shopping with her. She liked to have company, and Grandfather had other business in town to take care of. After we finished shopping she would take me to the ice cream parlor and buy each of us a dish of ice cream. We both enjoyed shopping very much.

After I was married and living in Brigham City, 48 South, 3rd East, Grandmother would at times spend a couple of days visiting my husband Virgil and me. These visits were during the winter months when she came to Brigham City, as she often did, to spend a month or two with Verna and Roger Sederholm. Whenever she came to visit us Virgil would go to town and buy soda crackers and nippy cheese, and the two of them would have a cheese and soda cracker feast. Unfortunately, I didn't like cheese, but I did enjoy seeing them enjoy themselves. A favorite snack for Grandmother was cheese and crackers.

These are only a few of my recollections of childhood and growing up days. There are many other happy memories of Grandmother. She was a person of great faith and perseverance, and she gave to all of us a feeling of security. This is also memories of my grandfather, and I must say that I loved them both very dearly.

Monday, April 23, 2012

In Their Own Words: Mary Elizabeth Ransom

This is an autobiographical account of Mary Elizabeth Ransom and her family, written toward the end of her life.

I, Mary Elizabeth Ransom, the daughter of James Rowley Ransom and Agnes Elizabeth Austin, was born 26 September, 1880, at Trenton, Cache County, Utah, the eldest of a family of eleven children, seven girls and four boys.

I was six years of age when my oldest sister, Agnes Amelia was born, having two brothers, James A. And William A., and no sister. I remember how thrilled I was when the told me I had a baby sister.

We lived on a homestead father had taken up prior to his and mother's marriage. It was about one mile north of where the city of Trenton is now located. It was a dry farm with no water only what we drew from a well. We lived in a one-room frame house which was the birth place of we four older children.

In the summer of 1881 Father and Mother came to Idaho with other families and camped in Big Canyon, where they cut ties for the railroad company, returning to our home in Trenton in the fall.

I can remember Father cutting rye with a reaper and Mother following, tying it into bundles by hand. While we were small children living in Trenton, Mother would never let us go very far from the house unless she was with us. I think that was because of so many tramps, as we called them. Many times she has taken us down to a little meadow northeast of our home, where we picked meadow flowers and thought that was a great treat.

Father was a good hand in the timber, and in a few years he and his brother Hyrum came to Idaho and found work at a sawmill in Soda Springs, Idaho. This being a long way to travel with ox team or horses, Father decided to move closer to his work. So in the year of 1887 we moved to Cleveland, Idaho, settling on Cotton Wood Creek. Here Father built a one-room log house, in which we lived.

The winters were very severe and the only way to get out of the valley was on snowshoes. The mail came in once a week, and some times only once a month.

We lived about five miles from the one-room schoolhouse, so I didn't get so very much schooling, only what my mother taught me. I am very thankful for these teachings. They have been a great help to me throughout my life. She taught me to sew, knit, crochet, also cord batts for quilts. I have also spun a little yarn to knit stockings.

My brother, John A., was born while we lived on Cotton Wood Creek. I have had some good times fishing and wading in that old stream.

I was baptized in Cotton Wood Creek at Cleveland, Idaho, 4 May 1889, by Ole Hansen, and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by James (Jence) Christensen, May 4, 1889.

We went back to Trenton, Utah in January of 1891 to spend the remainder of the winter, as there was an epidemic of measles in the valley and Mother, not feeling too well, hoped to escape them. But she didn't escape the measles and was very ill with a high fever for some time before giving birth to twin girls, Elvira and Elvina, 28 February 1891. They, too, had the measles. Mother was so ill and her eyes were swollen so badly she did not see her twin babies until they were nine or ten days old.

In April, 1891, we moved from Cotton Wood Creek to the divide between Cache Valley and Gentile Valley, Father moving the one-room log house up there, where it still stands at this writing, 26 September, 1959, as part of the old home. Four more children were born to them at this home, Violet, Thomas A., Verna, and Annie. There I spent the rest of my childhood days and that old home has some very dear memories for me.

My parents were not blessed with too much earthly means but were blessed with a testimony of the Gospel. Many times I have heard my father bear his testimony in meetings to the truthfulness of the Gospel and that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God, and that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of God. I have also heard my mother bear her testimony in Relief Society meetings. And they taught all their children those truths, also teaching them to observe the Word of Wisdom, which I believe they all do.

In the spring of 1898 I met George Burton of Bountiful, Davis County, Utah. After a six months courtship we were married 13 October 1898, in the courthouse at Salt Lake City, Utah, by an Elder Slone. We spent two or three weeks at George's old home in Bountiful, Utah, with his sister Mary and her family, his parents having both passed away prior to this time. We then came back to the home of my parents, where I spent the winter and my husband went on the desert with the sheep. He was working for Hyrum Stewart of Kaysville, Utah. Wages were thirty dollars a month.

He stayed with the sheep until March, 1899, then came home and homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land adjoining my father on the north. We moved a little frame cabin on the land to live in, and during that summer we built a log house, twelve by twenty-five feet, and moved into our new home before the winter weather began. Later we partitioned it off, making us two rooms.

On Christmas day, 25 December 1899, our first child, Ethel, was born. What a sweet little girl she was. And what a happy event that was in our lives. It was a very cold night, and my husband spent most of the night chopping wood to keep baby and I warm. My dear mother stayed with us until baby was nine days old, and we got along just fine.

It was hard times and my husband had to spend much of his time away from home working with the sheep to keep food and other necessities in the home, that being about all the work he could get.

In August, 1901, we went to Salt Lake City, Utah, with team and buggy, and on 21 August 1901 went through the Salt Lake Temple and were sealed for time and all eternity. Our daughter Ethel was sealed to us at this time. What a happy day that was for us. After spending a few days with my husband's sisters, Mary Ann and Sarah Ann and families in Bountiful, we returned home.

On 12 October 1901 our oldest son, George R., was born. What a nice little family we had now, blessed with a girl and a boy.

In the following years eleven more children came to bless our humble little home, each one being loved just as the first one, and just as sweet. In order of birth their names are: Mary, James R., William R., Vera, Orella, Rulon R., Mildred, Elvina, Willis R., Lincoln R., and Delma, making us the parents of thirteen children.

William R., Orella and Delma passed away early in life and are buried in the cemetery at Cleveland, Idaho.

I was chosen Secretary in the Relief Society of the Wilson Ward on 11 June 1916, and was set apart by my father, James R. Ransom, Mary E. Lundgren being the President. I was also chosen as senior teacher in the YLMIA 15 October 1916. And on 12 November 1916, I was chosen as First Counselor in the YLMIA of the Wilson Ward, my sister Elvina being the President.

After Mary E. Lundgren moved from the ward I was chosen President of the Wilson Ward Relief Society. My mother, Agnes E. Ransom and Annie Ames were my counselors. I held this position until they annexed the ward back to the Cleveland Ward.

My son George left to serve in the Eastern States Mission 25 June 1924, returning home in August 1926, having fulfilled an honorable mission.

On 13 March 1927 I was chosen President of the Cleveland Ward Relief Society, and was set apart 30 April 1927 by Henry Larson, which position I held for five years, then was released because of poor health. From my home to the Cleveland Ward meeting house and back was a distance of about ten miles. Many times I have saddled my horse and made this trip to attend Relief Society meeting. I also served as a visiting teacher in the Cleveland Ward Relief Society.

On the 22 January 1940 my son Willis entered the mission home in Salt Lake City prior to his departure for the Central States Mission, where he labored in the service of the Lord for two years, fulfilling an honorable mission, returning home 21 February 1942.

After he returned home from his mission he was called into the service of his country for four years. I think it was in August 1942 when he entered the service.

On march 4, 1944 my husband was killed accidentally with a horse while on the desert with Foss and Mecham Sheep Company. His funeral was held at Cleveland, Idaho, 9 March 1944. He, too, is buried in the cemetery at Cleveland, Idaho. Willis was still in the service of his country when his father was killed. Those were very sad and anxious years for me. To think of them bring back to me many sad and heartbreaking memories. Only through prayer and the comforting spirit of my Heavenly Father was I able to stand the trying ordeal.

On 21 September 1944 another little grandson, Lincoln Edward (Eddie) was born. He was a great joy and comfort to me, as I spent many lonely hours playing with and caring for him. His parents were living in part of my home.

In the fall of 1946 my daughter Mildred and I moved from our home on the divide to Cleveland, Idaho, and lived in a little just across the road from my son Rulon. We lived there about five years. While living there my daughter Mildred was called to serve in the Canadian Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

In February, after Mildred returned home from her mission, we went to Bremerton, Washington and spent five months with my daughter Ethel and her family, returning home in June.

In November, 1951, my daughter and I moved to Preston, Idaho, settling in the Second Ward, where we lived for three years. While living there I served as a Relief Society visiting teacher. On 24 January 1955 we bought this little home in the Preston First Ward, and moved into it on 26 January. I was called to serve as a visiting teacher in the Relief Society soon after I moved here and have served in this capacity ever since.

I have been blessed wonderfully by the Lord during my life and my prayers have been answered many, many times. I have heard the whisperings of the spirit to me on many occasions, also have been healed from my afflictions by the Elders through the power of the Priesthood.

I was given my Patriarchal Blessing by W. W. Sterrett, 13 June 1908.

I have ten living children, thirty-nine grandchildren, and fifty-five great grandchildren, a posterity of one hundred and four at this writing.

On the 18th of October 1959 I attended the Oneida Stake Conference when my son Willis was called and set apart as Second Counselor in the Oneida Stake Presidency by Elder Mark E. Peterson of the Council of the Twelve. What a thrill it was. Tears of joy filled my eyes.

I love my little home here where my daughter Mildred and I live a happy and contented life and love the work I do in the Ward.