Saturday, April 21, 2012
HISTORY OF SARAH STUDEVANT LEAVITT̓
Copied from her history by Juanita Leavitt Pulsipher, June, 1919.
1Sarah Studevant Leavitt, History of Sarah Studevant Leavitt, ed. Juanita L. Pulsipher (n.p., n.d.). Grammar has been standardized.
Raised in New Hampshire by Presbyterian parents, Sarah Studevant studied regularly the Bible and prayed on her own. Like many early Mormon converts, she was seeking a church similar to the early church described in the New Testament. Sarah married Jeremiah Leavitt (1797-1846) in 1817, and the young couple moved to Hatley, Quebec, Canada, where Leavitts had been established for some twenty or thirty years. There were Mormon elders in Canada in the 1830̓s, but none of them found their way to Hatley. A traveler who had attended a Mormon gathering elsewhere loaned the Leavitts a copy of the Book of Mormon and Parley P. Pratt̓s “A Voice of Warning.” “We believed them without preaching,” Jeremiah Leavitt later wrote. About 1838, the extended Leavitt family, including nine children of Jeremiah and Sarah, started as a group to gather with the Saints in Missouri. Delays kept them from joining with the Saints at Far West, but they later moved to Nauvoo, and finally to Utah, settling first in Tooele and later in Washington County. The following extract is taken from an autobiographical sketch by Sarah Studevant Leavitt dated April 19, 1875. The sketch was edited and published by Juanita Leavitt Pulsipher (Brooks) in 1919, and an excerpt from the published version has been reprinted here with clarifying material added in brackets and spelling and punctuation standardized. The original is in private possession.]
[page 1) [Copied from her history by Juanita Leavitt Pulsipher, June, 1919. I have copied this history exactly as it was written by the hand of Sarah Studevant Leavitt in her record book. The original was very old, yellow and torn, and much of the writings dim; but I was able to decipher it. I have made no effort to revise it in any way, except to put in an occasional punctuation mark or correct an error in spelling. I hope that it may find a place in the hearts and homes of her descendants; that they may profit by her experiences. Juanita L. Pulsipher.]
[page 2] April 19, 1875
I was born in the town of Lime, county of Grafton, New Hampshire (date torn off] and am now 76 years, seven months and 15 days old (September 4, 1798]. My father was Lemuel Studevant and my mother was Priscilla Tompson. My parents were very Strict with their children, being descendants of the old pilgrims. They taught them every principle of truth and honor as they understood it themselves. They taught them to pray and read the Bible for themselves. My father had many books that treated on the principle of man̓s salvation and many stories that were very interesting and I took great pleasure in reading them. He was Dean of the Presbyterian Church. For years his house was open to all denominations, so his children had the privilege of hearing the interesting religious conversations, but as I had the privilege of reading the Bible for myself, I found that none of them understood the Bible as I did. I knew of no other way to understand it only as it read. The apostle said, “Though we or angels from heaven preach any other gospel than that which we preach, let him be accursed,” and it was very evident to my understanding that they all came short of preaching the doctrine that Paul preached, but I was confident we should have the faith.
From childhood I was seriously impressed and desired very much to be saved from that awful hell I heard so much about. I believed in the words of the Savior, that said, “Ask and you shall receive.” I prayed much and my prayers were sometimes answered immediately; this was before I made any pretensions to having any religion. When I was 18 years old, the Lord sent me a good husband. We were married at my father̓s house, March 6, 1817, in the town of Barton, county of Orleans, state of Vermont. The next June we moved to Canada, 15 miles from the Vermont line, into a very wicked [page 3] place. They would swear and drink and play cards on Sunday and steal and do any wicked act their master, the devil, would lead them to. This was very different from what I was brought up to. My father would never suffer any profane language in his house. The next February I had a daughter born. She lived only 12 days. There were some things very strange connected with the birth of this child, which I do not think best to write, but I shall never forget, which I never shall know the meaning of until the first resurrection, when I shall clasp it again in my arms.
The next January I had another daughter born. When she was about six months old, I had a vision of the damned spirits in hell, so that I was filled with horror more than I was able to bear, but I cried to the Lord day and night until I got an answer of peace and a promise that I should be saved in the Kingdom of God that satisfied me. That promise bas been with me through all the changing scenes of life ever since.
When I was getting ready for bed one night, I had put my babe into the bed with its father and it was crying. I dropped down to take off my shoes and stockings; I had one stocking in my hand. There was a light dropped down on the floor before me. I stepped back and there was another under my feet. The first was in the shape of a half moon and full of little black spots. The last was about an inch long and about a quarter of an inch wide. I brushed them with the stocking that was in my hand and put my hand over one of them to see if it would shine on my hand. This I did to satisfy others; as for myself, I knew that the lights were something that could not be accounted for and for some purpose. I did not know what until I heard the gospel preached in its purity. The first was an emblem of all the religions then on the earth. The half moon that was cut off was the spiritual gifts promised after baptism. The black spots were the defects [page 4] you will find in every church throughout the whole world. The last light was the gospel preached by the angel flying through the midst of heaven and it was the same year and the same season of the year and I don̓t know but the same day that the Lord brought the glad news of salvation to Joseph Smith. It must have been a stirring time among the heavenly hosts, the windows of heaven having so long been closed against all communication with the earth, being suddenly thrown open. Angels were wending their way to earth with such a glorious message--a message that concerns everyone, both in heaven and earth. I passed through all this and not a neighbor knew anything of it, although I prayed so loud that my husband was afraid they would all hear me.
After this, there were two of his aunts who came in and commenced talking about being slighted in not being invited to a quilting. I had no relish for any such talk and said nothing. They saw that I made no comment. Being astonished that I was so still, they asked me what I thought about it. I told them I didn̓t know or care anything about it, and all I cared for was to know and do the will of God. This turned the conversation in the right direction. My telling my experience to these women and the effect it had on their minds was probably of much good, as they spread the news through the neighborhood. The result was, the whole neighborhood was convinced that the manner in which they had spent their time was wrong and instead of taking the name of God in vain, they cried to him for mercy. In short, the whole course of their former lives was abandoned. There were some exceptions, for the leopard cannot change his spots; how then, can men do good that are accustomed to do evil, so says the prophet.
But there was a minister who came from the states and formed a church, called the Baptist, which I joined because I wanted to be baptized by immersion. I had been sprinkled when an [page 5] infant, but as I said before, I did not believe in any church on earth, but was looking forward to a time when the knowledge of God would cover the earth, and that glorious time is rolling, all glory to the Lord. I lived very watchful and prayerful, never neglecting my prayers, for I felt that I was entitled to no blessing unless I asked for them and I think so yet.
We took a Freewill Baptist paper that I thought always told the truth, but there were a number of columns in this paper concerning a new sect. It had a prophet that pretended he talked with God. They had built a thing they called a meetinghouse, a huge mass of rock and wood, on the shores of Lake Cryenth (I am not sure of the spelling of this word) to make the blue waters of the lake blush for shame. In this Joe would go talk, he said, with the Lord and come out and tell them what the Lord said. But if I should go on and tell all the lies in that paper, how they healed the sick and managed their affairs, it would be too much for me. If you ever read the Arabian Night tales you might guess of what importance they were, for I could compare them to nothing else. No person of common sense would believe a word of it, and yet they wrote it for truth, thinking that would hinder Mormonism from spreading. But in this the devi̓ overshot himself for they were too big lies for anyone to believe.
But I will go on with my experience. I had a place that I went every day for secret prayers. My mind would be carried away in prayer so that I knew nothing of what was going on around me. It seemed like a cloud was resting down over my head. And if that cloud would break there was an angel that had a message for me or some new light. If the cloud would break, there would be something new and strange revealed. I did not know that it concerned anyone but myself. Soon after this one of my husband̓s sisters came in and after spending a short time in the house, she asked me to take a walk with [page 6] her. She had heard the gospel preached by a Mormon and believed it and been baptized. She commenced and related the whole of Joseph̓s vision and what the Angel Moroni had said the mission he had called him to. It came to my mind in a moment that this was the message that was behind that cloud, for me and not for me only, but for the whole world, and I considered it of more importance than anything I had ever heard before, for it brought back the ancient order of things and laid a foundation that could be built upon that was permanent; a foundation made by Him that laid the foundation of the earth, even the Almighty God; and he commanded his people to build up the kingdom of God upon the foundation he had laid, and notwithstanding the heathen raged and Satan mustered all his forces against the work; it has gone onward and upward for more than 40 years, and will continue until the work is finished.
I read the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and all the writings I could get from the Latter-day Saints. It was the book of Doctrine and Covenants that confirmed my faith in the work. I knew that no man, nor set of men, that could make such a book or would dare try from any wisdom that man possessed. I knew it was the word of God and a revelation from heaven and received it as such. I sought with my whole heart a knowledge of the truth and obtained a knowledge that never has nor never will leave me.
The next thing was to gather with the Saints. I was pondering over in my heart how it was possible for such a journey with what means we could muster. We had a good farm, but could not get much for it, but the voice of the spirit said, “Come out of Babylon, 0 my people, that you be not partakers of her plagues.” From the time the voice spoke so loud, clear and plain to my understanding, I knew the way would be open for us to gather with the Saints. For the Lord [page 7] never gives a commandment to man but what he gives them a chance to obey. From this time we set out in earnest and were ready to start with the rest of the company July 20, 1835. The company was made up of the Leavitt family, Mother Sarah Shannon Leavitt and her children, consisting of 23 souls. Franklin Chamberlain, her oldest son-in-law, took the lead. He did not belong to the Church, but his wife did.
We had a prosperous journey of 800 miles to Kirtland, Ohio. I had no chance to be baptized and join the Church until I got there. My daughter, Louisa, and myself and some others were baptized at this
place and were confirmed. Louisa had been sick for a year, under the doctor̓s care, and had taken very much ~me4icine, but all to no purpose. She was very feeble, and could sit up but little. She had been in the$~tes with my friends for more than a year. Her father and myself went after her with a light carriage. As she was 18 years old, I gave her her choice to go home with us or stay with my sister. My sister told her if she would stay with her, she should never want for anything, but she said she would go with her father and mother. My sister said, “Louisa, if you ever get well, don̓t say that Mormonism cured you.” So much for her judgment on Mormonism. She was rich, high spirited, and proud and belonged to a church that was more popular than the Latter-day Saints.
Now I will go back to my story. We stayed at Kirtland about a week and had the privilege of hearing
Joseph preach in that thing the Baptist said they called a meetinghouse [temple], which proved to be
a very good house. We went into the upper rooms, saw the Egyptian mummies, the writing that was
said to be written in Abraham̓s day, Jacob̓s ladder being pictured on it, and lots more wonders that
I cannot write here, and that were explained to us..
But our money was all spent, we could go no further. We [page 8] had to look for a place where we could sustain ourselves for the present, while the rest of our company went on to Twelve Mile Grove in Illinois. We promised them we would follow them the next year. This was the first of September . My husband found a place ten miles from Kirtland--Mayfield, a little village with mills and chair factories, and every chance for a living we could wish. Someone asked my husband why he went there. There was everything gathered Out of that place that could be saved, but he was mistaken, although it was a very wicked place. There was a man by the name of Faulk that owned almost the whole village. From him we hired a house. It was about 20 feet from his tavern, so I could stand in my door and talk with those in the tavern. But they opposed Mormonism, so I said little about it. I thought I would first get their goodwill and then perhaps I could have some influence over them. Of course, so long as they thought me an enemy, it would be of no use to preach over to them. I was persecuted and abused in many ways, but not by Faulk̓s family. But I paid no attention to vulgar expressions, for I cared nothing about them. I had something of more importance that was shut up like fire in my bones.
But it was a hard case when the children would come from school with their noses bleeding and crying, saying that they had been pounded most unmercifully. I went to the teacher very candidly and told her that unless she could stop the scholars from abusing my children, I should have to take them out of school, which I did not want to do. She said she would.
I wanted very much to get the goodwill of my neighbors, for I knew that I could have no success in preaching Mormonism unless I did and I was so full of that spirit it was hard to hold my peace. Consequently, I mingled in the society of all, was cheerful and sociable as though I was a great friend, [page 9] but kept on the side of the truth and right. I would go into the tavern when they had balls and help set the table and wait on ladies and was very sociable and talkative. By and by, being free with all, I soon got the goodwill of some of them. If we had commenced telling them of their faults and that they were all wrong, which was the case, and they must repent or they would be damned, we could not have gotten along in that place but should have had to leave.
My husband said nothing, only what was necessary to get employment. He got plenty of work with his team, so we got plenty to live upon and something to lay up. But we were watched mighty closely to see if they could discover dishonesty in our dealings. But as they could find nothing to complain of they thought they would leave us alone. There were some that had the mob spirit insomuch that they said Louisa should have a doctor. She was then confined to her bed. They were going to take our team to pay the doctor, so I heard. I thought she had already taken too much medicine.
I lay pondering on our situation, thinking we should be undone if our team was taken from us, and prayed earnestly to the Lord to let us know what we should do. There was an angel who stood by my bed to answer my prayer. He told me to call Louisa up and lay my hands upon her in the name of Jesus Christ and administer to her and she should recover. I awakened my husband, who lay by my side, and told him to get up, make a fire, and get Louisa up. She would listen to him sooner than to me, to tell her that an angel had told me to lay my hands upon her head in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and administer to her in His name and she should recover. She was perfectly ignorant of Mormonism; all she had ever heard about it was in Kirtland, what few days we stayed there and what we had told her. Her mind was weak, indeed, but she got up and I administered to her in faith, having the [page 10] gift from the Lord. It was about midnight when this was done and she began to recover from that time and was soon up and about, and the honor, praise and glory be to God and the Lamb. So you see, our enemies were defeated in their plan, but knew nothing of the cause of her recovery.
We had only been in the Church a short time, perhaps two months. About this time I had a dream. I dreamed there was a deep hole in the place that looked very black and muddy, but there were lots of fish in the hole if by any means we could catch them. It was such a filthy-looking place that it would be a job to get near enough to put a hook in, but I thought I would try. So I got a hook and line and bait and went, and after much trouble I got near enough to throw in my hook. There was a shark in the hole that took the bait every time; I saw that it was of no use to try to catch fish until the shark was out of the way and so I went to fishing for the shark and I soon caught it. It was a savage-looking creature. Then I could catch fish. I caught many fish which pleased me well.
After this dream I was sensible that people in that place could be saved, although their outward appearance would indicate no salvation for them. Mr. Faulk, the man in whose house we lived, was noted for his wickedness. He ran headlong into everything that would come in and satisfy his carnal desire, but I had gotten his goodwill, so that he would come in often and have a talk with me. I discovered that there were some good stripes in the man. At last I told him I had some books I wanted him to read, he might have them if he would read them. I gave him the “Voice of Warning.” He took it home and read it. Then I gave him other books, all explaining the latter-day message, and at last the Book of Mormon. He would ask questions and answer to my questions, but I could not find out what his mind was concerning what he had [page Il] read. But as it proved afterwards, he believed it to be the truth.
There was one of his companions that was often with him who was thrown from his horse and had three of his ribs broken, which caused him great distress. His wife was a good woman for a gentile, but the neighbors neglected her on account of her having such a wicked husband. I would go in and help her all I could. I was talking with one of them and told her that Mrs. Carpenter had too hard a time. She was almost worn out waiting on her husband night and day; the neighbors ought to help her more. She said he was such a wicked man--let him suffer. She did not know that he ought to have much help. I told her she made me think of the words of the Savior to the Jews. He said, “Think not that them on which the Tower of Silom fell and slew were sinners, above all others. I tell you, except you repent you shall all likewise perish.” So I say to you, Peter Carpenter was perhaps ahead of you in sin, but you are not on the road to happiness and must alter your course or you cannot be saved.
One Saturday night after I had gotten ready for bed, I told my husband that we would go into Carpenter̓s and if they had watchers we would stay and watch with them. We went in and found him without a watcher and groaning in great distress, and he said that he had had no rest for 24 hours, [and was] screaming to the Lord to have mercy on him. At last I went to the bed and asked him if he meant what he said, if he really wanted the help of God. He looked up and said, “Do you think there is any mercy for me?” I told him I did not know, but I would pray for him and then I could help. I knelt down and prayed and while I was praying the pain all left him and he went to sleep. He was then going to gather up what he had and go with the Mormons. I told him if he would forsake his former practices and do right in all things as duty was [page 12] made known to him he should not only get well, but he would be saved. I said a good deal to him, but I don̓t remember what so as to write it.
The next day--Sunday--I went in. The house was full of people so that I had hard work to get to the bed. He looked up to me and said, “Mrs. Leavitt, if I could feel as well as I did last night when you prayed for me, I should want you to pray again. I told him that if I could do so and do any good by praying I would and I knelt down in the midst of all that gentile throng and the Lord gave me great liberty of speech. I prayed with the Spirit and understanding, also to Him be the glory. The people were astonished and began to think there was some truth in Mormonism notwithstanding the bad reports about them. After this we were treated with respect and Carpenter began to recover and soon became able to walk the streets. -
He went to the tavern and joined with his old companions, drinking and frolicking, and he was soon down again as bad as ever. I went in to see him. He looked up and said, “Mrs. Leavitt, you said I would get well and here I am again.”
“Mr. Carpenter,” said I, “on what conditions did I tell you that you should get well?” I went on and related to him the conditions. “And instead of you complying with the conditions, as soon as you could get well or walk, you went back to the tavern and joined your old company. Christ did not die to save us in our sins, but from our sins; and if we go on in sin we must reap the reward, which is banishment from the presence of Him who suffered an ignominious death upon the cross to save us. Consequently, the devil will claim us, for the wages of sin is death.”
I do not remember our conversation so as to write the words, but you have the substance of it.
Carpenter was convinced of the truth of what I said and could say nothing in his own defense. [page13] But I believed he reformed, for he got better and could walk out. Here I must leave him and begin a new subject. The time drew near for our departure. My husband had not only provided for his family, but had gotten considerable besides, but only 30 dollars in money. He told Faulk he wanted to settle with him for his house rent, that he wanted him to take other property as he had but little money. He could get no answer from him, but he was very kind and obliging, so were all of our neighbors. Those who hated us when he came into the place, appeared now our devoted friends. It was to our advantage, for they helped us to get ready for a journey of 500 miles.
When we settled with the merchant and I took a bill of goods, I found there was not a charge for thread, needles, buttons or any such trifles, while at one time he gave me a whole card of buttons and told me to put them all on Tom̓s coat. Tom was his constant visitor. He stayed in the store most of the time. He was four or five years old. But Faulk would not settle with us until we got our team harnessed to start. Now my husband said, “We must settle.” The windows were, some of them, broken and we expected the rent would be high. But Faulk would not settle--he did not want a cent, nor would he take a cent. He wanted to see if Mormons were willing to pay their debts. He hallowed to the merchant and said, “Put up a half a pound of tea for this woman and charge to me, and another half pound and charge to yourself. She must not go to the Mormon swamps and drink the water; it will kill her.” I will only add that I got the tea, and more favors than I can write here, and that Faulk joined the Church and came to Nauvoo afterward. How many more I don̓t know and can̓t say, for I did not see him myself, but my boys did.
Now I will start for the Twelve Mile Grove in Illinois. [page 14] Nathaniel Leavitt had come up the lake to Michigan and stopped at a place called White Pigeon. When we got into that place we heard Nathaniel was dead and that his wife had taken all the property and gone back to Canada and left three children that were his first wife̓s children, among strangers sick with the ague. The oldest boy was ten or twelve years old he told the folks when he got big enough he was going to hunt his folks. They were with the Mormons somewhere. They told him the Mormons were all killed; he never would find any of them. What a pitiful situation for three. sick orphans with hardly clothes enough to cover their nakedness; they did not know if they should see a friend again. They were at three different houses; their names were Nathaniel, Flavilla and John.
When we came you may guess what their feelings must have been. We took them along with us, which increased our number to eleven, which I had to cook for and my husband to buy the provisions. We had a hard and tiresome journey. The roads were bad all the way. In one place there was a five-mile pole bridge over a swamp without any gravelQr dirt on it and the wagon jolted so it almost took our breath away.
After we got over the swamp there were some settlers, but it was a God-forsaken looking place. I don̓t think we went into a house where there were no deaths, and in some, half of them had died. We stayed one night in what they called a tavern, but everything looked gloomy enough and suspicious and certainly felt gloomy enough. I never had such feelings before and as I understand afterward, there had been a number of murders committed in the house. Lake Michigan was near the house and that contained the body of one that had [page 15] been murdered. I could tell all that I heard and read about it concerned me. I suppose that I saw one of the murderers at the Bluffs. If that place had not the curse of God upon it, I should not have had those gloomy feelings. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is peace and union.
Before we left Lake Michigan, we had to stop and work for provisions and horse feed. After a long and tedious journey we at last found ourselves in Illinois at the Twelve Mile Grove. Here we found our friend almost discouraged. They had had much sickness among them and mother Leavitt had died and Weir̓s oldest son. Weir was sick with a cancer. We had doted much on seeing mother Leavitt, but she alas was sleeping in the grave and had gone to the paradise of God to reap the reward of the just. There was a number among them that had had the spiritual gifts and were in a state of darkness. They had paid out much money for medicine and had much trouble, which had brought them down in bondage because their faith failed. If they had put their trust in their kind Heavenly Father and cried to Him from all this trouble, for He does not grieve us willingly, we must obey His commandments and we have the promise of prospering upon the land.
They had bought noble farms. The soil was very rich and brought forth great crops. But it was a sickly place--the fever and ague were located there. But we had to look out for a living. They were making a canal at Juliette [Joliet], 14 miles from this place, and my husband went and engaged to work on it with his team for three dollars a day. We moved out there and I washed for the workmen and we got a good living. But we stayed with our friends until their minds were stirred up and were alive in religion, and tried to comfort and encourage them. Sally Ann Chamberlain, who had formerly had the gifts and now was in the dark, sat looking at me as I was reading a passage where it said righteousness should spring [page 16] out of the earth. She wondered what it could mean. She said, “What is more righteous than angels or what is truer than the Book of Mormon?” “There,” she said, “I have got my gift again.”
They rejoiced much and sought the favor of God until all that ever had the gifts obtained them again and some that never had them. They had never seen a Mormon from the time they left Kirtland until we came, so you see how much need we have of meeting together often and stirring up each other̓s minds by way of remembrance. The prophets said they that feared the Lord spake often to one another and the Lord harkened and heard and a book of remembrance was kept for them that feared the Lord and thought upon His name, “And they shall be mine,” saith the Lord of Hosts, “when I come to make up my jewels, and I will spare them as a man spareth his only son that serveth him.” So you see we have our reward for all our exertions to do good and after we have done all that we can do to advance the cause of God we are still unprofitable servants, because of our weaknesses.
But I will return to my history. (A note found at the top of the page.) While I was at Juliette (Joliet], I was alone praying. After continuing in prayer for some time I thought of Joseph and commenced praying for him. As soon as I spoke his name, I burst into tears and my heart was filled with grief and I said, “Oh my God, what is the matter with Brother Joseph?” I learned afterward the mob had him, raving over him. I did not know at this time that there were any mobs gathered. We were at Juliette [Joliet], Illinois, and the mob in Missouri, but the Spirit manifested to me that he was in trouble. I prayed with all the power I had for the prophet of God. “The fervent and effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” saith the Lord.
We stayed in Juliette [Joliet] untilspring. It was the last of November [page 17] [1835?] when we went there. In the spring [1836?] we went back to Twelve Mile Grove and my husband took a farm on shares at the West Grove, five miles from there, and five cows to make butter and cheese. We raised a fine crop and had a good living. My husband built a house on the prairie a mile and a half from the place where his folks lived, but there was no timber at the grove. We moved in the house in November and had a windy place in the open prairie. In March we lost our only cow. The next day after she died, I was taken sick with the chills and fever and confined to the bed. The sisters would come and wait on me.
At last they said if I would go down with them they could take care of me, as they were afraid I would die there alone. They got a bed on a sled and put me on it and carried me down. I remained there about two months before I got able to sit up. When I went down, there was nothing green started out of the earth; when I came back, the grass was ankle high. I had a severe fit of sickness, but shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil. I did not complain, although I had to leave my babe at home, only a year old.
I had the chills while I lived at the Five Mile Grove and was reduced so low that the day I had the chill, after the fever was off they had to watch me night and day. If I slept over a few minutes, I was overcome. Louisa and her father watched over me until they were tired out, as they had to work days. My husband said to Louisa “We must go to bed tonight. We can̓t be broke of rest so much.” I heard what was said and the first thought I had was it would kill me if I was not awakened. The next thought was that the angels will watch over me. I went to sleep and in the night someone touched me and awakened me. I looked to see who it was that had awakened me and I saw a person with his back towards me, going toward the fire. I thought it was my husband, but I felt an unusual [page 18] calmness and peace of mind. The next morning I found that no one had been up in the house, so I thought it was my good angel watching over me. The Lord fed me with a shepherd̓s care. “My noonday walk He will attend and all my midnight hours defend.”
But I will return to my history. We had lost our only cow, but my husband made rails and bought another and finally we concluded we would go to Nauvoo, as lots of our friends were going. We never had lived where there was a branch of the Church, but we got together every week and had prayer meetings and the Lord was with us and poured out His spirit upon us insomuch that they spoke in tongues and prophesied. The children took an active part in these meetings. They would talk in tongues and prophesy and it was interpreted. We depended on no leader but the Lord and He led us into all truth the sick were healed as often as any were taken sick.
Before we left the place, there were a number of elders who came and we were made glad indeed. We had not seen a Saint from the time we left Kirtland, and they gave us many instructions and encouraged us so that we felt like urging our passage through all the cares and trials of life until our work was finished on the earth. One night we had a prayer meeting and my husband was praying. While he prayed that we might be counted worthy to partake of the tree of life and enter into the gates of the city of the New Jerusalem, Sally Ann Chamberlain had a view of the city and saw throngs passing through the gates. As I was kneeling close to her, she said, “See there, Aunt Sally.” She thought because I was close to her that I could see it as well as she. We all had the gifts and blessings promised in the gospel and love and union prevailed.
But we were preparing to move to Nauvoo. We started [page 19] for Nauvoo, I think, the first of November [1839?]. My husband bought a place three miles from the city and built a house. There was some land plowed which he sowed to wheat. He had to work very hard for a living. Provisions were scarce and high and most of the Saints were poor. There were some not poor and not fit to be called saints, many of them. I will relate one circumstance that may give you a little idea of the way that many managed. I was sick and had but a few comforts of life. I had no tea and no appetite. My husband went down to the city, expecting some money that was due him. He could not get the money. He went to the store and told Lyons he wanted a quarter of a pound of tea and told him he would have the money the next day. He told him he had been disappointed in getting the money that day, that I was sick and he could not go home without some. He would not trust him, but he had an ax with him and he left it in pawn and took the tea, which was only one case and worth 25 cents. After he came home that night his money came. That was only one case out of a number that were like it.
There was an Englishman who bought a farm from Joseph, adjoining ours, and when his land was surveyed, it took in our field of wheat. When the wheat was ripe, my husband took his cradle and went in to cut it. The man, Fox, I think was his name, forbid his cutting the wheat. He said it was on his land and he should have it. My husband went down to Joseph and asked him what he should do. Joseph told him to let Fox have the wheat, but he should be cursed that the law would bear him out in keeping the wheat, but not to grieve for it, that he (Joseph) would pay him it in flour.
And the curses of God did overtake him so much that he did not live to eat the wheat. He and his wife would brag of [page 20] their gold and how much money and every good thing they had, that they had enough to last for years. They would take me to her bureau and show me her nice things, but though I was very poor, I did not covet anything she had. Fox said nobody would dare to come around his house to steal his gold, for he had $50,000 in the house. When he told me that, I had a very curious feeling that he had come among the Saints and had brought deadly weapons to defend his gold and his great treasures. I told him he need be under no fear among the Saints, for if they could take his money without his knowing it, they would feel as Moses said, “Thou God seeth me,” and to him that has fed and clothed us all of our lives we have got to give an account.
Not long after this we were sent for to his house. He was dying. He did not speak after we went in and soon breathed his last. His goods he had laid up for many years he had to leave behind. How hard it is for those who trust in riches to be saved in the kingdom of God. His wife did not live long after.
But it cast a gloom over my mind and a solemnity that kept me awake that night. I lay and thought, what dependent creatures we are, that with all the exertions we can use, our destinies are in the hands of God, and he will deal with us as he sees fit. Not for all the treasures of earth would I give up the hope of eternal life, and am willing to sacrifice every earthly enjoyment if I could know that I found favor in the sight of the Lord. Life is so short and uncertain that we had better work while the day
lasts, before the night overtakes us wherein no man can work. There is a land of pleasure where peace and joy forever reign and there I have a treasure, there I hope to visit.
But I will go on with my history. We all had to work hard for a living, but with the blessings of God and our exertions [page 21] we soon began to get a good living. We swapped farms with a man, got one by the big mound, seven miles from the city, a fine pleasant place. But Priscilla was born before we moved and we had much sickness. There were four of the boys all sick at once with the black canker. There were many who died in Nauvoo with the same disorder and some of my boys were brought to the very gate of death, to all appearances. But by watching over them day and night and administering, the Lord raised them up; thanks be to his holy name.
One of the boys had gotten about and could walk out while the other lay at the point of death. We had to watch over him every moment. The one that could walk as soon as he laid down at night, he took with a toothache and would roll and groan. after a few nights (I had lain down to rest a few moments) he began to groan. I had a strange feeling come over me. I thought it was the power of the devil that was destroying our peace, and I had borne it as long as I would. I jumped out of the bed with about the same feeling I would have to drive a hog out of the house, and as sure he would have to go. I stepped up very spry to the bed and put my hands on his head in the name of Jesus and asked God to rebuke the spirit. I did not say a loud word, but as soon as it was done, he went to sleep and never was troubled any more.
I had administered to very many to rebuke disease, but never had the same feeling before or since. Very different were my feelings when Mary had a felon [?] on her finger and she was groaning. My baby was but a few days old. I was very feeble and weak. I felt that I had no power either of body or mind. The felon was growing worse every day. I told her to get up on the bed beside me. I took her hand in mine and asked the Lord to heal it. The pain stopped while I held her hand and she had no more pain. The next day the core came [page 22] out and the hole remains there yet where the core was, and always will be. In this case I said nothing aloud, but I had faith as much as a grain of mustard seed. The Savior told his disciples that if they had faith of a mustard seed they could remove mountains.
But oh, the sorrow and trouble that was just at our doors! We knew they had Joseph in prison and threatened to take his life, but that was nothing new nor strange, for his enemies always did that, but we did not believe they could have power to murder him; and he lived above the law. The law could have no power over him, but powder and balls could, so they shot him in Carthage jail. When the news came, the whole city of Nauvoo was thunderstruck such mourning and lamentation was seldom ever heard on the earth. There were many, myself among them, who would gladly have died if his life could have been spared by doing so. I never had spoken to the man in my life, but I had seen him and heard him preach and knew that he was a prophet of God, sent here by the Almighty to set up His kingdom, no more to be thrown down, and now how was that great and important work to be accomplished? Brigham Young was the man clothed with all the power and authority of Joseph. My husband said that he had the same spirit, the same voice, and if he had not known Joseph was dead, he would actually have thought it was Joseph. Brigham was gone to the east when Joseph was killed. Rigdon tried hard to lead the Church and get established in that place before Brother Brigham got to Nauvoo, but his deceit and lies were proven as the Twelve returned about this time.
It was whispered in my ear by a friend that the authorities were getting more wives than one. I have thought for many years that the connections between man and wife were as sacred as the heavens and ought to be treated as such, and I thought that the anointed of the Lord would not get more wives unless (page 23] they were commanded to do so. But still I wanted a knowledge of the truth for myself. I asked my husband if he did not think we could get a revelation for ourselves on that subject. He said he did not know. After we went to bed I lay pondering it over in my mind. I said, “You know, Lord, that I have been a faithful and true wife to my husband, and you know how much I love him, and must I sacrifice him?” The answer was, “No.”
And then my mind was carried away from the earth and I had a view of the order of the celestial kingdom. I saw that was the order there and oh, how beautiful. I was filled with love and joy that was unspeakable. I awoke my husband and told him of the views I had and that the ordinance was from the Lord, but it would damn thousands. It was too sacred for fools to handle, for they would use it to gratify their lustful desires. How thankful we ought to be that we live in a day when we can know the will of God concerning our duty, and that the darkness that has so long covered the earth has been dispelled and the light of truth has burst upon the benighted world. But what good will this do those who will not come to the light because their deeds are evil, and they choose darkness rather than light. But the honest in heart that seek the Lord in faith will obtain all the knowledge needful for their salvation. I have seen so much wrong connected with this ordinance that had I not had it revealed to me from Him that cannot lie, I should sometimes have doubted the truth of it, but there has never a doubt crossed my mind concerning the truth of it since the Lord made it known to me by a heavenly vision.
But as I have commenced to write some of the most important scenes of my life, I will go on. My memory is so much impaired that it will be a jumbled up mess unless I have the spirit of truth to direct me.
We went to the city and were there when the bodies of the [page 24] martyred prophets were brought into the city. It was after dark that they passed the house--it was Brother Snow̓s; a Doctor Clinton and his wife Melissa were there and they expected the mob would come into the city that night to kill the rest of the Saints. There were orders for every man to arm himself and prepare to defend the city. The moon shone uncommonly bright, as we could see quite a distance. Melissa said to her husband, “Doctor, don̓t you go; you will get killed and then I don̓t want to live any longer.” I said to Melissa, “What do you mean? If I had 40 husbands and as many sons, I would urge them off in a hurry, and if it was the fashion for women to fight, I would step into the ranks and help defend the city.” And I am not much of a fighting character either, but I did not value my life very high at that time, for they had killed our beloved prophet and my life did not seem of much value at that time; but it is the Lord̓s and let Him do with it what seemeth to Him good.
They had guards out in every direction; they had a drum that could be heard a number of miles and when there was any danger they would beat that drum, and everyone that was able would take whatever weapon they could get and run to the city and guard it. We lived three miles from the city and I don̓t know how many nights we left the place when the alarm drum was beaten. All of our men would run to the place appointed, but we had to move to the Mound, seven miles from there. We did so, but the guard had to be kept up at the Mound, for we had enemies on every side, all threatening to exterminate the Mormons. How strange when the Mormons never injured one of them; if they had, the law was open and they could have brought them to justice without killing them. It was their religion that was troubling them. As they often said, if the Mormons would renounce their religion and scatter among the gentiles, they would be good citizens, but to [page 25] pretend to have new revelations and a prophet, it was more than they could bear. When they found they could not turn them from their purpose, they swore they would kill them or they would make them leave the country.
But I for one did not fear them, for I knew that we were in the hands of God and He would make the wrath of man praise Him and turn all their threats for the good of His Saints, and it was so, for the Lord wanted His people to get up onto these mountains and raise an ensign that the scriptures might be fulfilled. But he saw that they would not go willingly, so He suffered their enemies to drive them.
Nauvoo and the country round about had to be guarded as far as there were any Saints. After we moved to the Mound we had to keep a double watch, as there were two roads, one led to Warsaw and one to Carthage. It was very high land and we could see a great distance. When it was my husband̓s turn to watch, I sat up with him to make him a cup of tea as he was not a healthy man. One night while we were watching, I got up on the shed and could see two buildings burning. One of them we supposed was a barn containing 400 bushels of cleaned wheat and the other, a dwelling house belonging to some of the brethren.
The enemy would ravage, steal, plunder and murder with no power in the United States to stop them! The Mormons could get no help because they believed the gospel was restored to earth by an angel. The priests knew that if that doctrine prevailed, there was no chance for them, and as the ax struck at the root of every denomination, they all joined together to help destroy the work of God. There were many ministers of different denominations that took the lead of mobs and were determined to put a stop to Mormonism. But it has increased the more they have opposed it and will continue to increase until the knowledge of God covers the earth, for all [page 26] their burning buildings and killing the brothers. But there was no fear in my heart, for I knew we were in the hands of God, and He would do all things right.
We soon found we had to leave the place if we meant to save our lives, and we with the rest of the brothers got what little we could from our beautiful farm. We had 40,000 bricks that my husband and Sons had made to build a house and part of the rock to lay the foundation. For this we got an old bed quilt and for the farm a yoke of wild steers, and for two high post bedsteads, we got some weaving done. Our nice cheery light stand we left for the mob, with every other thing we could not take along with us.
I never had a murmuring thought pass my mind, although we left a handsome property and a most beautiful place. We raised one crop on the place which shows the richness of the soil. From a small patch of melons, the boys took a number of wagonloads to market and such large melons. But we gave up the place. Before we left I enjoyed myself all the time and was cheerful and happy and had no fears of being killed, for it was made known to me in dreams of the night that we were safe.
We went in an old schoolhouse to stay while we prepared for our journey. After we had been there a short time, it was revealed to me in a dream that we had to leave the place in a hurry or we should be killed. I awakened my husband and told him that we had to hurry right off or we should be killed. It was a rainy morning and we were not ready. Our wagon was not covered nor our things packed up. But he believed what I said, for it was the first word that I had made manifest any fears and the first fears I had had but I believed that we should get off before they came upon us. It was about eight miles to the Mississippi River where we had [page 271 to go before we should be out of danger. There the brothers were collecting and crossing the river on a ferry boat.
We threw our things into the wagon and started off on a bad road. We had a hard and dangerous time on account of high water, but we got safely to the ferry and crossed over into Iowa. There we stopped a week or more. The brothers made a camp with their wagons, drawing them around so as to touch each other, with one place of entrance, and our fires in the center. Our cattle and sheep were on the other side of the river, but they were soon all over safe and there our sheep were sheared.
One night, just dark, there came an officer into the door of the camp and commenced talking with the children that were in the entrance. I looked up and saw him and knew that the children did not know enough to talk to him. I stepped up to where he was and said, “What does this gentleman wish?” For I knew he was upon some mischief, for he was dressed in the highest style and had every deadly weapon hanging around him that could be imagined. He asked if there was a man by the name of Bickmore in the camp. I looked down as if in study and I was in study to know what to say to deceive and yet tell the truth. “Bickmore--Bickmore--I heard of that name. There was a man by that name who went in the first company.” So I deceived him and told the truth, but the Bickmore that he had a warrant for had gone back over the river for cattle. His wagon stood in our reach and we expected him every moment. The next thing was to keep the officer there until the man could be notified of the danger
Bickmore̓s wife was there and heard all that was said and they sent the children to tell the men to keep away until the officer had gone. I gave him a seat and sat down by his side. He commenced asking me questions and the Lord gave me answers. “Why, madam,” he said, “I see nothing before you but inevitable [page 28] destruction in going off into the wilderness among savages, far from civilization, with nothing but what you can carry in your wagon.” I told him I had known for ten years that we had to go and I was glad we had gotten started. “Oh, there, madam, you have something to bear you up under your trials?” Said I, “it is no more trial; I would not go back if I could have the whole country at my command and all the riches in it.” “Well, I see nothing before you but starvation.” I told him the Lord was able to spread a table for us in the wilderness, for we were going where he wanted us to go. But the Church would not go until the mob drove us. The mob was a rod in the hands of the Almighty to accomplish his purposes.” He said, “I understand that you women go armed.” “Armed,” said I, “indeed they do, and I never felt like giving pain to a mouse unless it was necessary; but if a mob should come on me, I should try to defend myself, and I think I could fight.” I can̓t write half of what there was said, but we talked perhaps an hour. I kept him in conversation until I thought the men were safe and that was all I wanted of Mr. Mob.
As to the arms the women carried, they brought them into the world with them and I had reference to no other. It would be a sad sight to see anyone without arms, but not such weapons as the mob carried. I deceived him entirely and told the truth. It is not hard to deceive a fool, but if he is alive now, he must know what I said concerning the Lord furnishing a table for us in the wilderness is true and I often think of that saying when I am sitting to a well-furnished table. Oh! how kind and merciful is our Father in Heaven; he watches over us all the day long and when the night comes he is still our guard. Even the great God that held the reins of government over all his vast dominion, condescends to watch over us poor, weak, frail mortals. Well might David say, “What is man that Thou are mindful of him, or the son of man that [page 29] Thou visiteth him?” All that I say is, “Praise the Lord, oh my soul; and let all that hath breath shout aloud the praises of King Emmanuel, and ye solid rocks weep for joy. To write the love of God above, it would drain the ocean, though the sea was ink, and the earth paper and every stick a pen and every man a scribe. When I try to praise Him in beauty, honor and magnify the name of God, I find I have no language at my command that will do justice to the case, but when I lay aside this weak, frail body, I expect to praise Him in beauty and holiness.”
Well, when all things were prepared, we started on our journey. As we had let one yoke of oxen to take church property, and had but one yoke on our wagon, with about a ton of loading, you may guess the hardships we had to endure. It was but very little we could ride; we had to wade the sloughs and climb the hills. But what was more remarkable, we never got stuck in a slough. They seemed to know when they came to a mud hole just what they had to do, and would push with such speed that the wagon had no time to settle down in the mud.
One night we camped with the company and they said a few miles ahead there was a wide and deep slough that took four yoke of oxen to take a heavy load across, but we could go around it and get back into the road to camp at night. Well, I told my husband that I would go ahead and wade the slough and be there when he came around. When I came in sight of the slough, I saw one wagon stuck about halfway across and another on the opposite bank just ready to start. They said it was ten miles around that slough, and my husband could not get around that night; it was almost night then. Well, I guess how I felt, there alone among all kinds of wild animals; I thought I could not stand that. I began looking off in the direction the wagon had gone [page 30] and at last I saw it, but so far of it was very uncertain whether I could make them hear. I went on to the highest place there was near and raised my voice as loud as I could, and with my pocket handkerchief in one hand stretched as high as I could reach to attract attention. At last they saw me and stopped. I beckoned to them to come down, for they were out of hearing and would have been out of sight in a few minutes.
My husband soon came. I told him the fix we were in and told him he must help get the wagon down. We could get across some way if we had to unload and carry our things by hand across the slough, for there was no further chance for us. He brought the wagon down and yoked up a two-year-old bull with a cow and put them on lead, thinking they might help going up the opposite bank. But when they went to go up the bank, they settled back on the oxen. Old Berry, with as much sense as a human being, told the cow to go ahead by putting his crumpled horns into her flank and tore the side open. She jumped up the bank in a hurry and it was done so quickly that the wagon had no time to settle in the mud. I expect Old Berry would have taken the team across better without any help, for he had to drive the cow. My husband said he had not struck them a blow in the whole journey. They knew much better what to do than many men. He unyoked them every time he stopped if it was for one hour.
This was the last journey that he ever accompanied me and I want to say that he was very kind to his cattle and children, especially his two little girls--he almost worshipped them. He said he wanted to live to see those girls married and settled down in peace. I had made them a nice linsey dress, both of them. Betsy cut down a slit in the fronts and bound it around to nurse their dolls. When I saw what she had done, I was provoked and commenced scolding. I told her I must whip her. Her father said, “Come here, Betsy, and let me see the [page 31] sewing. If it is done good your mother shall not whip you.” He looked at the sewing very carefully. He said, “It is just as good as mother would have done it.” He thought everything they did was good. Why I mention this is to let you know how indulgent he was to his children.
We got this far and had no material stops. At last we got to Mt. Pisgah. There were a few brethren stopped there and put in a crop and built houses, expecting to winter there. This was in April, 1846, but we had not brought provisions to last until harvest and when my husband had built a house and put in a crop, he started back to Bonaparte for provisions. His son Jeremiah had stopped there and he wanted to bring him along and flour for bread. I forgot to say that we had three extra cows, so we had plenty of milk and butter. He had gotten his cattle that he had let go to draw church property here at Mt. Pisgah, so he had a strong team when he got ready to start back. There was a woman who wanted to go back with him and she offered him two dollars if he would stop one day and that night was worth a thousand dollars to me.
He stayed in the house and talked all day and all night. He told me things I never knew before. He was not a man of many words and never flattered and I never knew until that night how much he valued me. I found that he was perfectly satisfied with all of my doings insomuch that I never did a wrong thing in my life in his mind. Oh, how little did either of us think that was our last intercourse! He talked just as if he knew that was our last interview; he was led by the spirit what to say. Among other things he said, “Don̓t have anything to say to anyone else while I am gone.” This astonished me, for I did not believe that he questioned my chastity. I said, “Why do you make that request? Did I ever give you any reason to doubt my honor?” “No,” he said, “but it came into my mind to say it and I did.”
[page 32] Now to look at it, the Spirit knew he would be gone until the resurrection and he did not want me to get married to any other one. When I heard of his death, I thought I will keep that request sacred. Although I have had good offers, I never was tempted to marry. I have lived a lonely life as a widow 27 years, but my heart leaps for joy at the thoughts of meeting him at the great resurrection, never more to part.
I had such a feeling about his leaving as I had never had before. I went to him just before he started and told him that it seemed to me that I could not let him go. “Why,” he said, “what do you mean? You know that I must get breadstuff. I thought you were a.woman of fortitude.”
I did not know there was one in the place that I had ever seen, but Lorenzo Snow̓s family was living in their wagon in sight, not far off. His woman came to my house to wash. Some of his women were as handsome as I had seen in any place. One of them came every night and slept with me until I was taken sick, which was about two weeks. I had not to say slept, for we talked almost all night. I thought that I would get much knowledge from her as she belonged to one of the Twelve, and my mind was reaching after all the truth in existence.
When my husband had been gone about two weeks, I was taken sick with chills and fever, confined to the bed. I was an entire stranger, except for the acquaintance I had made with the Sisters Snow. Soon after I was taken down, the children all took sick and I got a little girl that could cook to make porridge for us. However, our neighbors were all very kind and helped us all they could. They would come and get my dirty clothes and wash them and if there were any holes, mend them. This they continued to do until they were all taken sick, insomuch that there were none well enough to take care of the sick.
[page 33] I was the first one to take sick there and 300 took sick and died after I was and I was spared alive. The bishop visited me often and told me if I needed anything, to call on him and I should have
it. I soon heard that he was dead. I was very sick and Mary lay at the point of death. We had watches every night until Mary̓s fever left her.
One morning, after the watchers had left, I looked around the room to see if all was right. Right under the chair where one of the girls had sat all night I saw something that didn̓t look as if it belonged in the house. I called to Thomas to come and see what that was. We found that it was a monstrous big rattlesnake coiled up on a bench and had lain there all night as harmless as a lamb. It had eight rattles. I told the boys not to kill it it had not come as an enemy, but on a friendly visit to help the girls watch. He did not help much, only as their companion, but they would have been just as well off without his company, not knowing of his presence. I told them to throw it off the bank and not hurt it, which they did.
But the time had come for us to look for my husband. With the greatest anxiety we watched and looked day and night until at last there came a man just before daylight with a letter containing the news of his death. It would be impossible for anyone to imagine my feelings after being confined to my bed more than two weeks and expecting him to come. All things would be all right when he came and it never entered my heart that he could die. When the news came that he was dead, my feelings were too intense to weep. My situation all rushed upon my mind with such force that all I could do or say was to cry to the Lord to sustain me under such untold trials and blessed be the name of Jesus. He did sustain me and preserved my life, which I cared little about until I found that my children had no father. All of the nervous [page 34] fears that I had been suggesting to him while he was alive were taken away when he was dead. I never rested nights in his absence. There was a fear of something, I did not know what, but now all that fear was gone; the being in whose hands my life was placed supported me. How could I have lived if the Lord had not supported me? He has been with me in sick troubles and severe ones, and He has not forsaken me. He says, “Leave thy father̓s children and I will preserve them alive and let thy widows trust in me,” and He has fulfilled these promises to me in all the afflictions I have had to pass through. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.
But I will go on with my history. Weir and Lemuel had gone to Council Bluffs and got the news of their father̓s death and my sickness and Lemuel came to Pisgah with a team and a box of medicine (name gone) which would stop the ague as soon as taken and other things for our comfort. Jeremiah came with the team that my husband had gone to Boneparte with and brought Dudley with him. Thomas was the only boy I had with me that summer, but now there were four with us.
My husband died the 20th of August, 1846. He had but two children married, Louisa and Jeremiah, and one grandchild, Jeremiah̓s daughter, Clarisa. He sang, “Come, let us anew, our journey pursue, roll round with the year and never stand still till the master appear.” He sang that hymn as long as he had strength to sing it and then wanted Elisa to sing it. He died without a struggle or a groan. “Blessed are the dead that died in the Lord; yea,” saith the Lord, “for they rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.”
A few days later we all started for the Bluffs. I took the pills and stopped the chills. My appetite came on in a hurry. I had too much appetite. When we got within a few miles of the Bluffs we bought some green peas. It was at noon and I [page 35] did not have time to cook them, and I ate hearty of them and it put me in colorea morbus in its worst form. As we were near the settlement, I told them to drive on until I could find an elder to administer to me. I had suffered all I could. The water ran out of my mouth and it appeared that I had naught to do but stop breathing. I expect I should not look much different after my breath was gone.
Lemuel would come to the wagon, look in and say, “Mother, you must not die.” I told him to drive on as fast as he could until he found an elder to administer. He repeated, “Mother, you must not die,” a number of times before he found an elder. Then he stopped the wagon and the elder administered to me, but did no good. We went ahead and found another elder and he administered to me, but that did no good. At last we came to another, an old man, and as he put his hands on my head and began to speak, I knew he was the right man. I was soon able to be taken out of the wagon into the tent and had some tea and light food.
You see in what a miraculous way my life was spared, thanks be to God for his condescension in hearing our prayers in this trying hour, for if it had not been for the prayer of faith, I no doubt should have died and been at rest. But I wanted to live to take care of my family and try to help them up the rugged path of life. I knew by experience that the way was straight and narrow that leads to eternal life, and one false step would send us into darkness and nothing but sore repentance would restore us into the favor of God. The enemy kept us constantly on the alert to draw us from the path of duty, but if we cling to the word of God as a child to its mother̓s breast for nourishment, we shall come off conquerors and more than conquerors through Him that has loved us. What shall I render to my God for all His kindness shown? I will try to honor him by confessing His hand in all things and obeying His commandments.
[page 36] We soon arrived at the Bluffs where we found some of our friends, Sister Adams, William Snow and his wife Lydia. I don̓t remember how many others. Sister Adams and Lydia were both -sick, and after a long and severe sickness, they both died. We could get no house and had to camp out. This was in November, 1846. I soon took the chills and fever again.
The boys made a camp of hay and I crawled into it, glad to get any place of shelter. I had to live there while they built a house and suffered very much for want of proper food and with the cold, as we could have no fire in a hay camp. There was the place that the disorder started in my head that has troubled me ever since. I had a pain in my head that was very severe. I had smoked for eight years before I believed the gospel, and when I believed, before I had seen the Doctrine and Covenants, or heard of an elder, something told me I had better leave off smoking. I obeyed that still small voice and left off smoking for eight years. When I had this pain in my head, I thought if I would smoke, perhaps it would relieve my head. I rolled some tobacco up in a paper and smoked it. It stopped the pain. I continued to do so every time the pain came on. At last I sent and got a pipe and have used one ever since.
I don̓t know whether I did right or not, but I am sure the anger of the Lord is not kindled against me, for I confess His hand in all things and try to keep His commandments. He hears and answers my prayers all of the time, thanks be to His holy name. His kind care and protecting hand is over all so that a sparrow does not fall to the ground without His notice. In all my sickness I have never complained or looked back, for I was sure that there were better days coming. I knew that Mormonism was true and better days would surely come, and it was needful for us to receive chastisements, for there was no other way we could learn so good a lesson.
[page 37] In December  I moved into a house the boys had built at Trade Point on the Missouri River where steamboats landed. I got able to do imy work and went to washing up our dirty clothes. After working nearly a week, I got them done and hung them up at night. I got up in the morning and every article of clothing was stolen and some new cloth that was not made. That left us almost without clothes. Well, I did not complain, but it taught me a lesson not to leave clothes out overnight. I was not discouraged, although it seemed hard after I had worked when I had little strength to wash clothes that had lain dirty for months for want of strength to wash them.
My health was poor all winter. At first I could get but little that was fit for a sick person to eat, but we soon had plenty. The Lord gave us favor in the eyes of the people, so we could get anything we asked for and some that we did not ask for. We lived only a few rods from the Pottowatamie chief. He told the boys if there was anything that they wanted that he had, to come and get it and he would wait until they could pay him. He had two wives, one a very white French woman. They were all a great help to us.
But I had very much to pass through in this place, both good and bad. We had not been there long before Betsy was sick with a white swelling on her leg, close to the knee joint, and a most distressing thing it was. For about two months, Dr. Clinton attended her. We kept on egg poultices. It was lanced twice without any effect and at last broke of its own accord. I had her on the trundle bed in the corner, close to the fire, as it was cold weather, and it would take me an hour to change her undersheet. She could not bear any jar or motion, but after a while it broke and there were lots of bone that came out. It was as bad as a felon could be, I suppose, and we expected if the Lord did not help us, she would be a cripple. But He did help [page 38] us, and although she was only seven years old, her leg grew, and it was wonderful, as there were pieces of bone that came out years afterward. The doctor said the flesh must be cut down to the bone and the bone scraped to get the rotten parts off, but I could not consent to that and after we got to the valley, I succeeded with the blessing of God in curing it.
While I was at this place, Brother Conlet was shot and killed in front of my house. Brother Conlet had been sick with the ague for some time. One morning he sprang from his bed and told his wife that somebody was going to shoot him. She thought he was crazy and told him to lie down again. He laid down and went to sleep. Soon he sprang from bed again and said, “Don̓t you see the guns pointing at me?” She still thought him crazy, but he put on his blue overcoat and stepped out. He stepped on Jean̓s land. Jean stood there with a gun and said if any man stepped onto his land, he would shoot him. The man of the place wanted to make a road through his ground, but Conlet knew nothing about what they were doing, but as he stepped over the line, Jean shot him.
After he had been dead a few days, one night after his family had all gone to bed and left a large fire burning and were all asleep but Sister Conlet, he came in and went to the bed where she lay and commenced talking. At first she was frightened, but soon all fear left her and she talked with him without any fear. I forgot most of the conversation, but he told her he wanted his body taken up and buried on high land, as the place where he lay would be washed off into the river. He told her he would always wear that blue coat when he came to see her. She had given the coat to his brothers. He told her some things that she was to tell to no one except the authorities of the Church.
She had his body taken up and buried where he wanted it [page 39] and got the blue coat and laid it up. The land where he lay did wash off.
A few rods from where Conlet was killed, I saw one Indian kill another with a club. I often thought this might truly be called a place where Satan̓s seat was, but my whole mind was engaged in preparing for our journey to the valley. I did everything in my power to accomplish this great work. I made eleven fine linen shirts for the merchant; I baked pies .and bread and cakes for the grocery the boys kept, as there were lots of gold diggers on the way to California, stopping there, waiting for the grass to grow. We had market for everything. There were lots of big men boarding at the tavern. Some of them came to us for victuals, as their fare at the tavern was very poor.
Among these was a Dr. Vaun that visited my house. There was a family by the name of Rolins staying at my house and Vaun visited them. I heard that Mrs. Rolins was a doubtful character, but believed it to be false until I was forced to believe it to be the truth by watching nights. I had one daughter, Mary, who was a grown woman. I kept her very close after I found what characters we were among. They often took evening walks, I mean the young folks. I told Mary she must stop walking out evenings or going to parties in that place. She very readily consented to what I said.
One evening, when all of the rest were fixing to walk out, the doctor said, “Is not Mary going?” Mrs. Rolins said, “Oh, no, Mrs. Leavitt is so particular; she won̓t let Mary go.” I always thanked Mary for listening to me. She was glad to get rid of bad company, for Dr. Vaun had a wife and children back in the ,$tates. His wife was the sister to the governor.
But if I should write all that transpired in this place of note it would be more than I will do. How there was a bogus press found there; and a man drowned in the river [page 40] trying to drive cattle while his companions stood on the bank and saw him drowning. Thomas told them if they would let him have a horse he would go and save him, but they did not like to venture their horses in such a dangerous place. Benway, the merchant, cursed them and told them they had stood on the bank of the river and seen one of their own men drown and not made the least exertion to save him. “There was little Thomas Leavitt that would have gone into the river and would have saved him, too, but you were afraid your horses would drown--Oh, shame!” Benway was a great friend to Thomas and gave him many presents. Thomas was 13 years old and his good conduct made him many friends.
Also how Jean̓s wife had a frightful monster born; and how I had the offer of marriage; and Sister Adams and Lydia Snow both died; and Robert McLean and Father Richards both apostatized, and how many debates I had with them; and a thousand other things, too numerous to relate.
But my whole study was to prepare to leave that place and go to the valley. It was a great undertaking, as I had but two boys, the oldest 14 years old, and three girls, two of them young children. My son, Lemuel, had gone in a former company.
But through energy and faith and the blessings of God we got a good fit-out two yoke of oxen and four cows hitched to one wagon. The cows we milked on the road and made butter. We had plenty of flour and groceries and had enough, so I was perfectly contented. Jeremiah and Weir crossed over the river with us and stayed overnight. When we parted in the morning, Weir said, “Mother, you must not go in the next company.” And once he said, “Mother, I want to bid you good-bye; I bade father good-bye and never saw him again.” He would often say, “Mother, you won̓t go in the next company, [page 41] will you?” I asked him if he did not want me to go as soon as I could get ready. He said he would rather I would wait until he could go with me. I told him I wanted everyone to as soon as they could get ready. I little thought that if I left him behind, I should never see him again in this world, but so it is. Very likely if I had been with him in his sickness he would not have died. I cast no reflections on myself on that account, however, but I can say, “the will of the Lord be done.”
We started on our journey and got safely to the valley, but I never saw Weir again. He died in August, the same month his father died; his father in 1845, Weir in 1847.
The first person I spoke to after I entered Salt Lake was Dr. Vaun. He came running out of a house and appeared much pleased to see me. He said, “Well, Mrs. Leavitt, I have joined the Church.” Of course, I was glad and was in hopes he had repented of his sins and would forsake them. But in this I was disappointed, for he sought the women̓s company and with the help of love powders succeeded in gratifying his hellish desires. He was called up before the authorities more than once and confessed his sins and asked forgiveness. He was forgiven and he said if he was ever found guilty again, his life should be the penalty. He knew the law of God required it. He was guilty again and was shot and killed. Oh, the weakness and depravity of man, to sell their birthright for a mess of pottage, or in other words, sell their souls̓ salvation for a few moments of carnal pleasure. Oh! Thou Eternal God, roll on that happy day when Satan shall have no power over the hearts of the children of men, but the knowledge of God cover the earth as the water covers the mighty deep.
We went to the Deul Settlement, where Brother Fish lived. Lemuel was there. He was engaged to be married to Melvina Thompson, sister to Julia Fish. Julia tried hard to break up [page 42] the match, but failed. Julia slighted me in every way she could. She lived in a room adjoining mine; made a tea party and invited all the neighbors but me. She did not think I was worthy of her company, but it did me no hurt or cause me to commit sin, for I was trying to keep in favor with God and knew that I should look well to my own conduct. I should not have to mention this, but she has left the Church. She is too proud to be a Saint.
Lemuel was married there and his wife was sick a long time after they were married, with the worst kind of sickness, for her reason was gone, and although she was about the house most of the time, she did not know what she was doing. I had a severe trial, but I let patience have its perfect work.
We lived in that place about three months and then moved to Pine Canyon in Tooele. We lived there until the Indians became so bad that we had to leave with the cattle and horses. They stole five head of horses in one night and all the cattle they could get. Walker̓s band was in the mountains just above us and he said he was going to kill us off. They kept guards out in every direction. Some of the young men cried and said, “We shall all be massacred.” As for myself, I had no fears. I thought we were in the hands of God and it would be all right.
[Here her history ends, apparently unfinished.]
Pioneer now larger than life
• State luminaries honor Leavitt ancestor,
By KAREN VAN SPLAWN
SANTA CLARA—A pioneer woman whose dedication and devotion introduced the Leavitt family tame to the West was honored Saturday. Family members unveiled a larger than life shining bronze statue of Sarah Sturtevant Leavitt, who would be 200 years old today.
It was part of a monument, located in Santa Clara Drive, dedicated to the Mormon matriarch who left Canada with her family and, after much tragedy, settled in Santa Clara in the late 1800s.Sarah Leavitt. who at 37 converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died in 1878 and is buried in Gunlock. Her legacy now stretches from Canada to Mexico.
Utah Gov. Michael 0. Leavitt, himself a descendent~ encouraged the hundreds of Leavitts standing under an overcast sky to remember Sarah̓s profound influence.“It̓s a stunning piece of work and had a profound meaning to me personally,” Leavitt said. “I̓m grateful she̓s been honored this way.”
Michael Leavitt presented the statue, unveiled by his parents Anne and Dixie Leavitt, to the city of Santa Clara. Some wept at seeing the statue of Sarah, standing near her husband̓s grave, holding a Book of Mormon and looking Westward. Sarah̓s husband, Jeremiah Leavitt, going with other family members, died during the trek. After Elder Jeffrey R. Holland—a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and a St. George native—said prayer everyone got a closer look at statue, created by L̓Deane True“It̓s absolutely beautiful,” said Wanda Bushel of Bloomington, a relative through the Dudley Leavitt family “She will be forever young, forever beautiful and looking towards the setting the sun,” Holland said, :The statue will hopefully stand as a beacon in a world looking for heroes, said Santa Clara MayorFred C. Rpwley
.‘Through Sarah Sturtevant Leavitts courage, thousands have been blessed,” Rowley said Family members contributed money needed to pay for the statue, along with concrete, landscaping (done by David Trueblood) and other materials. Before the dedication, some 1,500 Leavitt family members— some from Nevada, Arizona, Utah and elsewhere—attended a special ceremony at the East Stake Center.
Elder Arthur F. Kay called Sarah a true servant. “She found truth, love and joy in life,” Kay said. Michael Leavitt said he hoped future Leavitts will feel a great sense of gratitude to Sarah, a deeply religious woman. Holland. who is married to a Leavitt, said he was grateful the Leavitts were celebrating as a family, especially when families everywhere today are under attack.
It could be said of Sarah Leavitt that The ceremony also included reading her faults could be written in the sand, journals of Sarah and other Leavitt but her virtues would be chiseled in stone. Holland said. The cermony also included, a lunch and a Dutch oven dinner at Tuacahn..
BACKGROUND AND EARLY LIFE
This story is taken from the first two chapters of the book entitled “Dudley Leavitt”, Pioneer to Southern Utah”by Juanita Brooks, Published in 1942. The first two chapters although written for the Dudley Leaviti family, contains much information for all of the Jeremiah and Sarah STUDEVANT or Sturdvant Leavitt family decedents, this was copied by Truman Hebdon a decedent of Jeremiah son of Jeremiah and Sarah STUDEVANT Leavitt, the oldest brother of Dudleys.
The arrival of a new baby at the Jeremiah Leavitt home was nothing to be surprised at, for every two years or less a new one was added to the little flock, until they were accepted as part of the natural scheme of things. This boy, born August 31, 1830, was the fourth son and the eighth child. His mother, then thirty-two years of age, was to have four others. At this time the family consisted of Louisa, 10; Jeremiah 8; Lydia 7; Weir 5; and Lemuel 3. Two of the children had died.
They called the new baby, Dudley, a family name which could be traced back to Dorothy Dudley, a grandmother several times removed. Though the family lived in a humble home, they were proud of their lineage. Both the father and the mother could trace their names back to the early Puritan stock, some of the ancestors of both having come over on the Mayflower.
The Leavitt family came from a line of note in England, their family coat of arms representing a ramping lion and the motto meaning, “The Quick” or “The Active”, denoting that they were physically superior. The Dorothy Dudley from whom this boy derived his name was a daughter of Samuel Dudley of the Massachusetts Bay colony. Her father could boast that four of his family had been governors there: His father, Thomas Dudley; his father-in-law, John Winthrop; his brother, Joseph Dudley; and his brother-in-law, Simon Bradstreet. Thomas Dudley came to America in 1630 in the Mayflower, along with Mr. John Winthrop and others.
Through the Dudley line it is possible to trace from Thomas through the Purefoys, back through the mazes of English royalty and near-royalty to Alfred the Great of England, who ruled from 871 to 901. The mother also boasted a good family tree. She was Sarah Sturdevant, and her family can be traced back through John Thompson to William Brewster, also of the Mayflower.
At the time of Dudley̓s birth, the family were living in Hatley, Canada, just fifteen miles from the Vermont line. Jeremiah had brought his young bride here immediately after their marriage, for the soil was deep and rich and the timber plentiful. They would establish their home and rear their family here.
The change was a sore test for the eighteen-year-old wife. She had been brought up in a strict Puritan home, a home where Bible reading and family prayers were established daily institutions, and where the Sabbath was observed to the letter. Hatley was still little more than a boisterous camp, and the swearing, the drinking, and the general disregard for things religious and for all the customs she had considered essential to civilized life, tried her bitterly. She had adjusted and developed until she was now well matured, resourceful, and still devoutly religious. Always of a serious nature, she read the Scriptures, meditate much, and prayed often, for the conditions she saw around troubled her.
Several years passed. Two other children, Mary Amelia and Thomas Rowell, were added to the family. In the meantime, Sarah, the mother, had joined the Baptist church because she believed in baptism by immersion
Through the paper which was published by her church, she read of a strange new sect which claimed that their prophet received revelations direct from God. The stories were much distorted and so fantastic that they were comical. Yet she was strangely interested in the idea of new revelation. In her prayers and meditation, she had been impressed that she was to receive new light from some source.
One afternoon one of her husband̓s sisters called upon her and asked her to go for a walk. When they were out in the fields where they would not be overheard, she told Sarah that she had been to listen to some Mormon Elders preach. She found Sarah a sympathetic listener, so she went on to say how she believed that this was really the true church of Christ restored again; finally she admitted that she had been baptized. Suddenly it flashed on Sarah̓s mind that this was the new light that she herself had been looking for.
Returning home, she told her husband of the incident, and together they went to a Mormon meeting. They accepted all the literature they could get, and spent long evenings reading aloud from it, comparing it with the Scriptures, and discussing it. Sarah̓s real conversion came when she read from the Doctrine and Covenants. In her journal, written after she had grown old, she said: “I knew that no man, nor set of men, that could make such a book or would dare try from any wisdom that man possessed. I knew that it was the word of God and a revelation from Heaven and received it as such. I sought with my whole heart a knowledge of the truth and obtained a knowledge that never has nor never will leave me.”
Dudley was too young to know what it was all about, though he listened with round eyes to much of the Talk. The older children all joined in as they could, reflecting in some measure the fervor of their parents. The popularity of the new sect had grown, most of Jeremiah̓s family having joined. The next thing was to gather with the body of the church at Kirtland.
This was a stupendous undertaking for Jeremiah and Sarah, for it meant taking their large family and moving to a new place. But they were determined to go with the rest of the company.
They left Hatley on July 20, 1835, a company of twenty-three souls, Jeremiah̓s mother, Sarah Shannon Leavitt and her children and grandchildren. Her oldest son-in-law, Frank Chamberlain, was in charge of the group. In Jeremiah̓s wagon, besides the parents, were eight children: Louisa, Jeremiah, Lydia, Weir, Lemuel, Dudley, Mary and Thomas.
The company traveled in order, resting on the Sabbath and whenever it was necessary to wash clothes, repair wagons, or get supplies. It was a new experience for the five-year-old Dudley, this camping out, cooking over the campfire and sleeping under the stars. Thus his life as a frontiersman began early, and many of his accomplishments in reading the signs of nature, his skill in tracking, and his keen observation, might be traced to these early years. Here he learned, also, resourcefulness and the ability to meet emergencies.
They arrived in Kirtland early in September, and to his dying day, Dudley remembered his first impression of Joseph Smith. To his childish mind, here was a Prophet who talked with God and angels, so he seemed a little more than human. Later in his life, Dudley was to have closer association with Joseph Smith, an association which seemed only to strengthen his first impression.
Since the family money was gone, they could go no further. The rest of the company went on to Twelve Mile Grove in Illinois, but they must find work near Kirtland. They went ten miles to the village of Mayfield where there was a mill and some chair factories. Here Jeremiah and his older sons
Since most of the people of the town were bitter against the Mormons, life was difficult here. Often Dudley came home from school with a bloody nose from defending a religion of which he could then have known but little, but to which he was to devote his life. His parents attended strictly to their own business and were so honest and trustworthy, that in spite of the hatred toward Mormons in general, they left town with the good feelings of the people. On the day they left, the merchant of the town canceled a part of their store bill, and gave them a few luxuries such as a card of buttons to put on the baby̓s coat, and a paper of tea. Through their influence, a number of people of the town later joined the Mormon church.
This second journey was to take them another five hundred miles west to Twelve Mile Grove, near Nauvoo, Illinois. It was a long and tiresome trip. Near Lake Michigan they were forced to stop again while the father earned enough to go on. Here they found three orphan children of Jeremiah̓s brother, Nathaniel. Their mother had died some years before, and when the father died, his second wife went back to Canada, leaving the children with people there. The oldest boy was about twelve years old. Jeremiah and Sarah took them all along, increasing their group to eleven children. The orphans̓ names were Nathaniel, Flavilla and John.
The roads were bad all the way. In one place there was a five-mile bridge over a swamp, made with poles and without a covering of dirt, so that it nearly jolted them to pieces.
They arrived to find their friends sick and discouraged. Mother Sarah Shannon Leavitt had died of exposure and hardship. Many of the company were ill; all were in low spirits. They had bought good farms, but there was so much malaria that those that did not actually have the chills and fever were moving about half sick. Some of them had begun to doubt the truth of this church which had cost them so much. Jeremiah and his wife brought new zeal and new hope to the group.
Dudley̓s parents must find work to support their many children. They learned that there was a great canal being built at Juliette, fourteen miles away. Here Jeremiah could work with his team for three dollars a day. Sarah took in washing for the workmen. The girls helped her, and the boys, Jeremiah, Weir, Lemuel and Dudley worked at odd jobs. Altogether, the family did well. They stayed there from November until spring and then went back to join their relatives at Twelve Mile Grove and took a farm on shares. They had five good cows, so they could have butter and cheese, and they raised a good crop.
Jeremiah, seeing at what an advantage he could use the labor of his family on a farm, decided to take up a piece of virgin land for himself He moved out onto the prairie, put up a house, and moved the family out. There was every indication that they would soon become well-to-do.
Then misfortunes came, not singly, but in battalions. First, the mother was taken ill with chills and fever. For more than a month she was down, seriously, dangerously ill, alternately shaking with chills and burning with fever. To add to their troubles, their only cow died. Jeremiah made rails enough to buy another cow, and as soon as his wife was better, they decided to move to Nauvoo. Most of their friends were going and they wanted to be with the body of the saints.
They started in November, and on arriving, bought a house three miles from the city. They plowed and sowed the land to wheat Before it was ready to harvest, they found that there had been some irregularities in the survey and the land belonged to another man. So they swapped again and got a farm by the Big Mound, seven miles from the city.
This was in 1841. For six years the family had been on the move, living a few months or a year at a place as they could get work. Now, at last, they were established where they felt that they would be permanent. They were seven miles from Nauvoo, but they could go in to town for conferences and special meetings, and could keep in touch with their people. The farm was in a fine location with the site for the new home they planned to build on top of the mound. There was every promise that they would soon be prosperous. Dudley was then eleven years old, Lemuel fourteen, Weir seventeen and Jeremiah twenty. With such a group of strapping young fellows to help him, the father could soon get a fine farm all in shape. They did well, too, in spite of some reverses. One season the boys all came down with the black canker. Each had his turn. For a time it seemed that death hovered over the household, but by careful nursing and great faith the parents were finally able to save them all. At another time, Mary, then nine years old, had a felon on her finger which caused her great suffering.
With the coming of cold weather the sickness abated. For three years they lived on this place, increasing their acreage, stocking the farm with cattle. preparing to build a fine house. They had the rock and gravel hauled for the foundation. Everything seemed to be working for their benefit until the year 1844, when their troubles began again.
Dudley, now in his teens, could do the work of a man. He had received little formal education because the family had moved so much. But he could read. and did read. His texts were chiefly the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants. In the family circle they often read aloud in the evening. The children committed passages to memory. Dudley̓s education was practical. He learned how to farm, how to care for animals, how to mend tools. The plant and animal life around him were an open book, always interesting, from which he read fluently.
Then the mobbing began. Before this time, the Leavitt family had lived often among people who were not in sympathy with their beliefs. Sometimes the children had difficulties because they were Mormons. But never before had they known such depredations as they were now to witness. From their mound they could see, night after night, the distant fires of homes burning; they could hear the sound of horses”̓hoofs on the road.
Only once did the mob threaten them. A group rode up to the fence with a clatter, dismounted, and started toward the gate. Weir, a young giant of twenty-two, walked calmly out of the house to meet them. “Come on in, fellows,” he said easily. “Come on in and have a drink.”
Taken by surprise at such a reception, the crowd followed him around to the cellar, where he poured a pitcher of wine and passed it to them. Then picking up the barrel, he drank out of the bunghole. They watched with amazement. They noticed how his muscles bulged under his shirt; they saw the cool fearlessness of his eyes. Perhaps they noticed too the tense, watchful attitude of the younger brothers, Lemuel, Dudley and Thomas. They were only boys, but boys with fight in them. The mobbers got on their horses and rode away. The family were not molested again.
This was not much comfort when they could see the things that were going on around them and hear the stories of the whippings and the tarring and feathering that went on.
They worked on their farm all the spring of 1844, conscious only of the troubles when they went into town on Sunday. They knew that the Prophet was taken prisoner, but he had been taken before, and God had always protected him and helped him to escape. When the word came that he had been killed, they were all thunderstruck. They felt that they must do something; they must go somewhere and find out about it They hurried to the city to see crowds of grief-stricken people passing on the street or gathered in groups. Gloom sat on every face, and hopelessness. With their Prophet and leader gone, what could they do?
The next day the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum lay in state at the mansion house. The people thronged there for one last look upon the man whom they almost worshiped. Not one but would gladly have given his life to save the Prophet. Dudley stood in the line that passed single file before the bodies. Something in the calm majesty of the dead faces strengthened his testimony of the work which this man had established; something of the sublime seemed to reinforce his assurance that here was a man who was called of God. Whatever it was, the experience was so indelibly stamped on his mind that he never forgot it, and regardless of what hardships he must endure for his faith in this man, he never wavered in his belief
As the family started home, downcast and troubled, word came that the mob were again scouring the countryside with the threat that they would drive out every Mormon. The great drum, the signal of alarm to the saints, beat out its warning. They all gathered at the home of William Snow, where they found several families already met. William Snow had married Dudley̓s sister, Lydia, so there was a feeling of kinship in being at his home.
The women and children sat in the dark room, while the men and boys stood guard. “Arm and be ready,” a rider called to them. “The mob is out to destroy every Mormon.”One of the women began to cry, begging her husband not to go. “If I had forty husbands and as many sons, I would urge them all to go,” Sarah told her. “If I could, I would go myself”
With Joseph Smith and his brother killed, the mob quieted down. For several months the people lived at peace, working their farms and tending their businesses. But they were like sheep without a shepherd. They lacked direction. Though they met together often, they lacked the spirit they had before. Their most important question was, “What can we do now?”
In the meantime, the members of the Council of Twelve Apostles began to gather in to Nauvoo. Most of them had been absent at the time of the martyrdom of the Prophet, and had hurried home as soon as the word reached them. Sidney Rigdon was one of those who felt that he should be the next president of the church, since he had been a counselor to the Prophet. Joseph̓s wife, Emma, felt that the leadership should remain in the family. It was not until Brigham Young and a number of the Twelve had returned that a public meeting was held to determine the successor to Joseph Smith.
All the Leavitt family were present on that occasion, August 8, 1844, for, to them, this was a matter of great importance. Fourteen-year-old Dudley was with his friends near the back of the large audience which had gathered to hear the talks of the authorities. On the stand the men were arranged according to their rank in the priesthood, the different quorums grouped together. After the preliminary opening exercises, Brigham Young arose to speak. Sidney Rigdon had already pressed his claims at a meeting the day before, but no vote had been called.
On the edge of the crowd, Dudley whispered to some of his companions. Suddenly they all stopped and listened. It was their Prophet Joseph speaking! How well they knew his accents. They raised up and looked toward the stand. For a second, they thought it was the Prophet who stood there. But they knew it was not, and soon the vision passed. It was so real to Dudley that it made a lasting impression. For him, the mantle of Joseph had in reality fallen upon Brigham. As long as he lived he loved to re-tell the incident.
The whole audience seemed to have had the same experience, for when a vote was called, they were almost unanimous in saying that they would be led and directed by the Twelve Apostles, with Brigham Young at the head.
United again under a competent leader, the people went on with their work, finishing the Temple, and carrying on their church duties. The persecutions, temporarily stopped, now began again. Again marauding bands scoured the country-side at night; again burnings and mobbing became common. At the Mound, the Leavitt family kept a constant watch, for two roads went directly past their home, one from Warsaw and one from Carthage, and they must be alert for enemies from either. Dudley took his turn at standing guard with the older boys.
It soon became evident that they must either leave the state or renounce their religion. This last they would not do. The body of the church had promised to leave, and asked only time to gather their crops and make preparations. The Leavitt family could stay on their prosperous farm and finish their new home, or they could go with their friends. Dudley̓s mother, writing in her journal, said: We soon found that we had to leave the place if we meant to save our lives, and we with the rest of the brethren got what little we could from our beautiful farm. We had forty thousand bricks that my husband and sons had made for to build a house, and part of the rock to lay the foundation. For this we got an old bed quilt and for the farm a yoke of wild steers, and for two high post bed-steads we got some weaving done. Our nice cherry light stand we left for the mob, with every other thing we could not take along with us.”
The family was again on the road in search of a new home where they could live their religion in peace. By this time two other members had been added, Betsy and Priscilla.
FROM NAUVOO TO UTAH
IT WAS A year and a half after the martyrdom of Joseph Smith before the Mormons left Nauvoo. Early in1846 they had their orders to leave the state. Brigham Young tried to get permission to stay until spring, and until they could get their outfits ready, but the mob was determined that they should go at once.
Sometime in February the Leavitt family left their farm and gathered with neighbors and friends at an old school house. The first night out the mother, Sarah, had a premonition that if they did not get out of there, they would all be killed. They did not have the cover on their wagon or their things packed, but her husband listened to her. It was the first time in all their troubles that she had shown any fear. During the difficulties in Nauvoo, she had been cheerful, confident that God would take care of them. Now, when she suddenly became so afraid, her family listened to her. Hurriedly piling things into the wagon, they set out for the Mississippi river, eight miles away.
They arrived on the bank to find a crowd collected and getting across as fast as they could. Not until Sarah reached the opposite bank did she feel safe. The group arranged their wagons in a circle as close together as they could crowd them, with the fire in the center. The first night there was a snow storm and a strong wind which made it almost impossible to keep covers on the wagons or on the beds. The thawing weather which followed after was nearly as disagreeable as the cold. They stayed there about two weeks, until they could get the rest of their cattie across the river and prepare to move on.
They had a trying time because they were not fitted for a long journey, either from the standpoint of supplies or outfit. They had let the church use one of their teams to haul out the church property. This meant that they had only one wagon left and one team of oxen to pull it. Loaded as it was with household goods, the wagon could not carry the family too, nor could the oxen pull them. That meant that the mother and children must walk, wading the sloughs and climbing the hills. It was April in 1846 before they reached Mt. Pisgah, one hundred and fifty miles west of Nauvoo.
This was to be one of the camps of the saints, so the father and boys set about to build a shelter and plant crops. Since they did not have provisions to last until harvest, the father went back to Bonaparte to secure some. Their son, Jeremiah, was married and living at that place, so the father would live with him while he earned flour, and when they came back to Mt. Pisgah, they would bring Jeremiah with them. Weir and Lemuel had gone on with another group to Council Bluffs; they were strapping young fellows and well able to make their way. The father decided to take the sixteen-year-old Dudley with him back to Bonaparte to help work for provisions, leaving the mother with only Thomas and the three girls during the summer.
Soon after her husband left, Sarah came down with the chills and fever. Then the children all got it, until there was not one to wait upon the others. Though they were strangers, they were among their own people, and their neighbors were very kind, coming in to prepare meals, and do the washings. “I was the first one to take sick there and three hundred took sick and died after I was, and I was spared alive,” she wrote in her journal.
In the meantime, the husband was also sick back at his son̓s home in Bonaparte. Although they nursed him the best they could, it soon became evident that he could not get well. He, too, knew that he would go, a premonition that he had before he left his wife, and that she had felt also.
In his last hours as Dudley sat beside him holding his hand, he began to sing the hymn, “Come, Let Us Anew!” On the last verse, “Oh, that each in the day of His coming may say, ‘I have fought my way through; I have finished the work Thou didst give me to do̓ “his voice faltered. He asked Dudley to go on with the song, but the boy̓s heart was too full. He could not. Jeremiah̓s wife bravely took up the strain, “And that each from his Lord shall receive the glad word ‘Well and faithfully done. Enter into my joy and sit down on my throne̓ “. Without a struggle or groan, he passed quietly away. That song has ever after been a family favorite.
The mother, who had patiently waited her husband̓s return, was almost prostrate at word of his death. Her children rallied around her, Jeremiah coming with Dudley to bring the outfit and load of provisions, and Weir and Lemuel coming back from Council Bluffs with medicine and food. Now for a short time she had all her sons together, five of them. It was the last time they were ever together, for Weir died the next summer. The father had passed away August 20, 1846, and Weir, the strongest of the group m August, 1847. The daughter, Lydia, who had been married to William Snow, died in November of 1846, making three out of the family to succumb to the life of exposure and hardship.
As soon as the boys had all gathered, they decided to move on to Council Bluffs, where Weir and Lemuel had some crops planted. They arrived in November, and since they had no house in which to live and had to camp out, the mother took chills and fever again. The boys fixed her a shelter of hay in which she lived until they built a house at Trade Point on the Missouri River. This was the place where the steamboats landed.
As soon as she was able to work, she took in washings, she did fine sewing, she baked bread and pies to sell to the emigrants to California. She took in boarders. The boys found work, too, and all bent all their energies toward getting an outfit to cross the plains to Utah. Weir had died, Jeremiah was married and had brought his family to Utah, and Lemuel came ahead with an earlier company. This left Dudley the oldest boy at home, with his three sisters and his younger brother, Thomas.
During the two years they lived at this place, Dudley worked for a man named Peter Maun. Peter liked Dudley and took great pride in his strength, for at this time the boy was broad and strong almost beyond belief At one time Peter Maun began bragging about him to a group of soldiers who were wrestling among themselves.
I̓ve got a hired man that can throw any of you,” he said. “Or he can throw all of you, one at a ~—‘ time.”
The soldiers took the challenge, and Dudley was called. He stood in the center and met them one by one. The game was wrestling, side holds, and the first to trip or throw his opponent off his feet was the winner. With his employer to encourage him and prod him on, Dudley took one after another until he had thrown sixteen, and no more came forward. So elated was Peter Maun that he. put his hand to his mouth and gave a whoop that raised the echoes.
It was really through this man that the Leavitt family got to the valley as soon as they did. With all their work, it was hard to get ahead; the process of saving was slow. One day Dudley found a purse with one hundred and fifty dollars in it. He showed it to Peter Maun.
What are you going to do with it?” his employer asked. “Try to find the owner,” Dudley told him.”You are crazy,” Maun said. “With all the hundreds of people who are passing here every day, how can you find the owner? Some one will be sure to claim it that doesn̓t have as much right to it as you do. The real owner has probably gone ahead. You keep the purse a few days and wait to see if anyone inquires for lost money before you say anything about it.”
Dudley did as he suggested, arguing that if a man said he had lost his purse it would be time to give it up, but if he advertised that he had found one, some one would be sure to claim it.
“This may be the Lord̓s way of helping you to get to the valley,” Peter Maun had told him. “Look how hard your mother has worked all this time. Look how hard you have had to work, yet it will be a long time before you can go at this rate. Give me the purse, and I will buy you an outfit that will take you there safely. This may be only an answer to your mother̓s prayers.”
This last argument appealed to the boy. Maybe it was the Hand of the Lord. Anyway, Maun was right about the emigrants; hundreds were passing every day. Dudley gave the purse to the older man who bought two yoke of oxen, a large prairie schooner, four cows, and a good supply of flour and groceries. Now they could go to Zion.
The year 1850 was the peak year of the gold rush to California. Word had gone out of the fabulous riches to be found there and people from every station set out to get their share of it. The total emigration westward for the year was estimated at 55,000 persons, of whom 5,000 were Mormons en route to Utah.
The first Mormon train crossed the Missouri on the first day of June, 1850, with Captain Milo Andrus in charge, and made its real start west on June 3. It consisted of 51 wagons, 206 persons, 9 horses, 6 mules, 184 oxen, 122 cows, 46 sheep, 6 yearlings, 19 dogs, 1 pig, and 2 ducks. The church historian estimated that between seven and eight hundred wagons carrying passengers to the valley as well as two new carding machines and other machines crossed the plains this year. They took along about 4,000 sheep and 5,000 head of cattle, horses and mules.
Just before the company left the Missouri River, Apostle Hyde called them together and spoke to them. He told them that if they would be faithful and live their religion they would be blessed with health and their lives spared. He mentioned especially the reverence for the name of God. “Keep the name of God sacred,” he promised them, “and your lives will be preserved.”
Dudley heard the promise and was much impressed by it. In his later life he used to tell how about the third day out, one of the oxen became obstreperous, and he, forgetting himself, cursed it soundly, using the name of God. For two years before he had worked among rough, unbelieving men, and while he had always tried to be careful of his language, it seemed that the words in the back of his mind came out in his excitement. In the midst of his anger, Brother Hyde̓s words flashed across his mind. He was instantly filled with remorse and shame. He dropped the yoke where he stood and walked, head down, to a clump of willows, where he dropped on his knees and asked forgiveness of his Father in Heaven. He promised that he would never again use the name of Deity in anger or passion. “From that day to this, I have never taken the name of God in vain,” he always concluded
THE MOVE SOUTH
FOR TWO years Dudley and his wife lived happily in their little home at bode. Then in the spring of 1855 the crickets came, passing like a cloud over their settlement. Behind them the fields were left as bare as a floor; the vegetable gardens had not one spear of green above the ground. It looked as if the people must face a season of famine, or at the best a serious food shortage. In June, Jacob Hamblin came home from Santa Clara, where he had been sent on a mission to the Indians the year before. His field of labor was on the very edge of civilization, the last settlement to the south. It really was not a settlement yet, for the missionaries who had been sent there had built a pole house and cleared a small piece of land. That was all. But Jacob told of a semi-tropical climate where cotton plants were growing, and where they could raise sugar cane and sweet potatoes. He had been counseled by Brigham Young to take his family south with him.
After some consideration, Dudley and Mary decided to go south to live also. It would mean selling all they had and starting over. Dudley would take his mother, and his one unmarried sister, Priscilla. Both Mary and Betsy had married William Hamblin before this time. Still another was to go along—Mary̓s sister, Maria, who would be Dudley̓s second wife. They were married August 12, 1855. She was not yet sixteen, but was well matured and was much in love with the stalwart young man who was already her sister̓s husband. Mary agreed to the arrangement.
This is the last mention of his Mother.
Sarah and most of her family both married and single went to the Santa Clara Mission, they were among the first to help in the colonization of southern Utah.