Nancy Naomi Alexander Tracy
Narrative of Her Life, Written in 1885
Dear, dear Grandmother: Quoting from the last paragraph
of the following pages I wish to state that "Some of your children's
children have read with interest your history," and because there
are many more who have not had the opportunity of reading it, I
have had your story printed, that they may read, and be strengthened
in their faith.
In the fourteenth and fifteenth years of my life I stayed
during the nighttime with grandma, previous to her passing when
about eighty-six years of age. From her lips I heard the stories
as given in this booklet, and many others not mentioned therein.
And through that association and experience in my early life, I
gained a faith and testimony that has always remained with me.
The last night that I spent with Grandma was on March
first 1902. From my bedroom I was awakened by hearing her coughing.
I got up and went to her bedside. She was gasping for breath but
managed to tell me to get her a spoonful of syrup. This seemed to
clear her throat.
The next morning when I went home to get ready for school
I told my mother about grandmother's coughing spell. That evening
mother told me that she and my aunt were staying that night with
Grandma and I was to remain at home with my brother, and sisters.
The next morning she awakened me and told me that Grandma had passed
away during the night.
May she live in the memory of her grandchildren forever.
FLORENCE TRACY HALL
of Helon Henry)
Grandfather Moses Tracy
never did have a picture of himself taken, so I have been informed
by older members of the family. One can readily understand why,
when we read of the many times he was forced to move from one place
to another with his family, being under the necessity of building
a new home each time. And then after arriving in Utah
where he thought they would now be free from drivings and persecution,
they were forced to flee south before Johnson's invading army. That
seemed to be one trial too many, for he barely lived to see his
family back to their home again, when he passed away. He was among
the first of those buried in the Ogden City
Dear Grandfather, though we have never seen
your face, may your grandchildren all live worthy to meet you in
that better land beyond the veil.
Florence Tracy Hall
A Sketch of the Life of Nancy Naomi Alexander
Tracy, Which She Wrote at the Request of Her Children in 1885 When
She Was 69 Years of Age
I do not expect to write one tenth of my experiences,
but merely to give an outline of some of the incidents in my life's
history. It is impossible for me to give exact dates as I did not
keep memoranda, therefore cannot make a complete history.
I was born of goodly parents on the 14th day
of May 1816, at Henderson, Jefferson County, New York.
My father was Aaron Alexander and my mother Betsy Jones.
My father died when I was four years old. He left my
mother in comfortable circumstances, with a small farm and a home.
She had four young children, two boys and two girls, the oldest
child, Albert, being six years old when father died. Mother felt
that she could not take care of the farm so she let a man have it
who promised to pay her but he failed in business and she never
did get the money. Consequently this left her in destitute circumstances
and she was forced to put out her three oldest children.
I was the second child and it fell to my lot to go and
live with my grandparents on my mother's side. They lived in Herkimer County,
one hundred miles from where my mother lived. My uncles and aunts
were all grown up and most of them married and gone. I was quite
a favorite in the family. I was kept in school most of the time
and taught to spin flax and wool and also to weave cloth during
the summer when not in school.
When I was fourteen years old there was quite a revival
in the town among the Methodists. I had been trained to always go
to that Church and to the Sunday school, in which I took great delight,
for I had a religious turn of mind. When this reformation broke
out I felt that I wanted to get religion and be as happy as the
others seemed to be. I tried to get a change of heart and would
go off alone with my Bible and read and pray. But I could not feel
any different and I never did join the Church.
When I was fifteen years old my mother came and stayed
one year with us. I was so attached to her that I could not bear
the thought of being separated from her again. So when she was preparing
to leave I begged her to take me with her. She finally consented
to take me but she had no home of her own and had to work out for
a living. I knew I was leaving a good home where I had been kindly
cared for, but so great was my desire to be with my mother that
I felt that everything would work out alright. So I bade my school
teacher and classmate's goodbye and went with mother to a place
in Jefferson County,
where I was placed in school for the remainder of the winter. In
the spring I was offered a school to teach but I declined the offer
as I felt I was too young.
Then my mother took me to live with a cousin of hers
who was the wife of Abram Tracy and who lived at Ellisburg in Jefferson County. While there I became acquainted
with Moses Tracy, who was a brother of Abram. An attachment sprang
up between us and on the 15th of July 1832 we were married.
I was then sixteen years and two months old. My husband took me
to his father's home to live until we could get a home of our own.
In the fall we went to keeping house by ourselves and the winter
passed very pleasantly for us.
In the spring
of 1833 there was quite a sensation created by a new sect of ministers
who came around preaching and who were called Mormons. We heard
all sorts of frightful stories about them so we could not imagine
what kind of people they might be. Then we heard that one of them
by the name of David W. Patten was going to preach about two miles
from where we lived. A great curiosity seized me and I felt that
I must go and hear him. And so three of us went, Lydia,
wife of my husband's brother Ensign, and Margaret Minor and myself.
Because of the stories that we had heard we expected to see someone
hardly in human form, so imagine our astonishment when we beheld
a tall stately looking man with piercing black eyes, arise and announce
a hymn to be sung. I could at a glance see the noble spirit that
he possessed beaming from his countenance, and when he began to
speak it was with such force and power that before he was through
I could have born my testimony to the truth of the gospel and doctrine
that he was preaching. Never before had I heard the true gospel,
as the Savior and His apostles had taught it when they were on the
earth, as this man had now given it to us. A pure gospel sermon,
"and I believed it with all my heart, and would gladly have gone
down into the waters of baptism then, but I wanted my husband to
hear first and go with me.
These elders preached often in the neighborhood and many
became convinced of the truth of the gospel and were baptized. Finally
quite a large branch of the Church was organized in Ellisburg. My
husband as yet did not seem to believe as readily as I would have
liked but I had faith that if he would give himself up to investigate
the Gospel he would embrace it, for he was of the honest in heart
and would recognize the Truth.
On November 25th, 1833 our first child, a
son, was born. For a long time I lay as it seemed at death's door.
The presiding elders of the Church came often to our home and talked
about the Gospel and its ordinances and I felt a great desire to
be administered to, but I was surrounded by unbelievers and I had
not obeyed the ordinance of baptism as I had felt constrained to
do, so I felt that I was unworthy to ask for a blessing from the
Lord. But, I was determined
that if the Lord would let me live I would go forth and do what
I knew was my duty. So in the spring my husband seemed to take interest
by going to the meetings and. studying the scriptures and finally
to my great satisfaction and joy said he was ready to be baptized.
I had in a measure regained my
strength and on the 10th of May 1834 we were both baptized
by Elder Thomas Dutcher.
At that early day the apostate power was at work, filling
the minds of the people with prejudice. The pulpit and press had
commenced a tirade of abuse against the Latter Day Saints and my
relatives thought I had brought a great stain upon myself and them
by accepting such a delusion, as they called it. They would send
me the newspapers of the day with the most vile slanders and falsehoods
to see if they could reclaim me. But I was not moved. I was humble
and felt to thank God that my soul was at last satisfied, that I
had embraced truth and not error, and it was marvelous to me how
I had escaped while in my tender years, from uniting with some of
the religions of the day. I had been brought up so strictly among
them, that I felt to acknowledge the hand
of God in that I had been preserved with my heart pure to listen
to the voice of the good Shepherd.
The Gospel spread and a good many large branches were
organized in Jefferson county and
adjoining counties. The gifts and blessings of the gospel were poured
out upon the Saints in rich abundance. I will relate one instance
of healing that came directly under my observation. A young woman,
about twenty years of age, whose name was Emily Fuller, was staying
for a few days at the home of James Blakesley, who was the presiding
elder in the Branch. She was taken violently ill and kept on getting
worse until she went into convulsions. She was a good Latter-day
Saint girl but it seemed that the evil one was determined to destroy
her. Elder Blakesley had gone away eighteen miles from home to fill
an appointment and there was not another elder within fourteen miles.
This was Elder Thomas Dutcher and he was finally sent for. The girl
had been in this terrible condition for 24 hours and every thing
that had been done for her was of no avail. The evil spirit raved
by cramping and convulsing her body and she was in this condition
when Elder Dutcher arrived. He immediately retired to a room alone
and prayed mightily for strength and faith in God that he might
be able to rebuke the destroyer. When he came into the room where
the girl was he went to her bedside and layed his hands upon her
head and by the power and authority of the Priesthood of God, which
he held he commanded her to arise and be made whole from that moment.
She obeyed and arose, although very weak, and asked for water to
wash herself and a comb to comb her hair.
This miraculous healing I bear a truthful testimony to.
The Prophet Joseph had appointed a gathering place for
the Saints at Kirtland,
Ohio. Many of the Saints had gathered there
and had begun to build a temple, as they had been commanded. In
the spring of 1835 we with a few others in the Branch felt that
we too would like to gather to Kirtland. So we began making preparations.
We had visited my grandparents and other relatives in Herkimer
the winter for I felt to bear my testimony to them before leaving
for the west, for I felt that I might be leaving them forever. There
had never been an elder of the Church in that part of that State,
so my relatives knew nothing of the restored Gospel. They were glad
to see us but would not listen to the message that we had to give,
so we bade them adieu and went home to prepare for our journey.
We had a fine span of horses and a new wagon so we decided to travel
by land, the distance being a little over 400 miles. We took a light
load and had money to pay our expenses. One of my husband's cousins,
Philander Colvin went with us.
As the time came for us to bid farewell to our relatives
and friends, they predicted that we would soon return back home.
But it will be seen that in this they were mistaken. We made the
distance of 400 miles in eleven days. We had a pleasant journey,
camping in the wagon only two nights on the way. We had our meals
and lodging in the hotels, not yet having learned to deprive ourselves
of comforts. Little did we realize then what we would have to endure
for the gospel sake.
I think it was near the first of June when we arrived
at Kirtland. We went to meeting on the following Sunday. It was
held inside the temple walls, the roof being only partly on. The
Prophet Joseph was on the stand and he addressed the Saints. I never
will forget with what joy and satisfaction that I sat and listened
to the inspired teachings of that man of God.
My husband rented a room from Brother Lyman Sherman
and we moved into it and began keeping house. It was hard to find
employment but we got along very well. Sometimes my husband would
get work with his team and when not thus employed would work on
the temple. The work on the temple was progressing and the plan
was to complete it during the fall and winter so that it could be
dedicated in the spring.
On October 29, 1835 our second son, Lachoneus Moroni,
was born. When he was two months old, we, with Brother Harry Brown
and his wife, prepared a feast and invited as many as the house
would hold. We had made arrangements to receive our Patriarchal
blessings under the hands of Father Joseph Smith. After partaking
of the food we received our blessings and had instructions from
some of the Twelve Apostles who were present, which was a feast
to our souls.
On March 27, 1836 the temple was dedicated. Dedicatory
ceremonies lasted two days and they were happy days, for the spirit
of God rested on the house and on the people. Angels appeared to
many and the song that was composed for the occasion, "The Spirit
of God Like a Fire Is Burning", was fully realized. I felt that
I would like always to enjoy the sweet communion with the Holy Spirit
as I enjoyed it in that house. Solemn assemblies were called and
the elders went from house to house blessing the Saints and administering
to and passing the sacrament. Those were truly days of rejoicing
for the Saints of God and gave us the strength that was needed for
what we afterward had to contend with.
Some of the Saints had settled in Jackson County, Missouri,
but the inhabitants would not let them stay there, although they
had paid for their land. They were forced to leave and went and
settled in Clay County.
These things were going on while we were in Kirtland. My husband
had been talking of going to Missouri.
Brother Joseph had borrowed fifty dollars from us and my husband
went to him seeking counsel about going and told him that we did
not need the money if we did not go. Brother Joseph thought a moment
and then said, Brother Tracy it is the will of the Lord that you
go to Missouri,
and your money shall be forthcoming, although at the moment I do
not know how I am going to get it."
And so we planned to go that summer of 1836.
Many elders were sent out to preach the gospel from the
"House of God" that spring. My husband as yet had received only
the lesser Priesthood, but greatly desired to once more bear his
testimony to his father's house and his friends in general before
we went on to Missouri. The time was short as we planned to leave
the middle of June. And so in April Brother Harry Brown and my husband
put their families together in Kirtland and left for New York. They were gone
six weeks. Upon their return we began to prepare for our journey
of one thousand miles this time. There were four families going
together on this trip. They were Brother Dimmick Huntington and
his wife and three children and my husband and I and our two children
who went together in one wagon with an ox team. Brother Ezra Parrish
and family and Brother William Corey and family each had a wagon
and team. It will be seen that this was not going to be a pleasure
trip like unto our first move.
We were nearly ready to start when Brother Joseph came
to see us and said, "Here Brother Tracy is your money. I have just
sold a half-acre lot. I told you I would have it for you". And so
we bade adieu to Kirtland where we had lived for one year in unalloyed
happiness and had received many rich blessings in connection with
the Saints of God, which I often said prepared us for that which
was to come.
All things being ready we started on our journey. We
had no tent so we made, our beds in the, wagon. The weather was
getting very warm and we traveled rather slowly. Nothing occurred
to mar our peace until we came into the border of Missouri.
Then one day we came to a stream of water with a very narrow bridge
over it, about ten feet above the water. Brother Corey's team was
leading and when he got to the center of the bridge one of his oxen
dropped and began to throw itself. In its struggles, we expected
to see the wagon with the children precipitated into the stream,
but the men were able to get the ox loose from the wagon and he
died and was, dragged off by the men. They could not get the other
teams past the wagon stalled on the bridge so the men had to drag
it off as best they could. We took the Corey family along with us
until we arrived at a settlement where Brother
Corey got another ox. We traveled on for about two days when one
of Brother's Corey's children was taken very sick and died. We were
quite some distance from a settlement so we camped and the brethen
made a rude coffin for the child and buried it in the forest. This
was a great trial for Sister Corey, but it seemed to be but the
beginning of her trials. We went on to within 150 miles of our destination
of Far West when all of a sudden
Brother Corey lost his mind. He raved and tore about and seemed
to want to kill the rest of us. He was a large and powerful man
and the brethren could hardly hold him. He would not be administered
to. After some time however he gave up and quieted down and seemed
harmless. The brethren counseled together and decided to camp for
a few days and see if he would recover, but he never rallied again.
We went on a few miles to a settlement to see if we could get a
place to make him more comfortable. We found an empty log cabin,
which the owner gave us permission to move
into. This was in Randolph
County, Missouri. Sister Corey became ill and took
to her bed, also her three children and my little boy. Brother Parrish
and family had gone on and Brother Huntington got a house half a
mile from us and so the burden fell upon my husband and I
to take care of the sick. My husband would go out and find work
each day and get what provision he could for his labor, as our money
and supplies were exhausted.
Brother Corey lived for about a week after we stopped
at this place, then he passed away. I was alone with the family,
who were all down sick, when the husband and father died. But I
was blessed in body and spirit to do my full duty and it was marvelous
to me how I endured what I was called upon to do at this time, but
the Lord gave me strength for my day and trial. We went to work
and did the best that we could and prepared the body for burial.
My husband made his coffin and three neighborhood men came and helped,
to bury him. His wife was lifted up from her sick bed to take her
last look at him and then he was buried a short distance from the
Well we were not going to forsake the rest of the sick
so we stayed on and took care of them until they recovered and we
felt justified in leaving them, for the widow had decided to go
no farther that year. We had gathered enough provisions to last
us a month or more so we prepared to continue our journey. It was
getting late in the season and we wanted to reach our destination
before cold weather came.
As we were ready to leave, the Birch family, who had
let us have the house to stay in, and in other ways had been very
kind to us, invited us over to have dinner with them. I don't think
that I ever enjoyed a meal as I did that one. It was a great treat
to sit at a table spread with so much good food such as fresh venison,
sweet potatoes, corn bread, etc. With traveling and so much sickness
we had not been able to cook a right good meal since our journey
began. Now we bade this good family and the Coreys goodbye and went
on, arriving at our journeys end the middle of November. We were
forced to camp out as there was not a house finished in Far
West. The Saints had only recently moved in from Clay County
and were in destitute circumstances. They had now been driven from
Jackson and Clay
County and were now in Caldwell County.
It seems that there was no resting place for them, for persecution
had followed them wherever they went. This was still another testimony
to me for in all ages when God has had a people upon the earth,
they have been persecuted in like manner.
The Saints had lost all of their possessions in Jackson
and Clay counties and were quite destitute when we arrived. There
was not a home finished, but not at all daunted they soon built
up the city of Far West. They felt to trust
in God knowing that they had been commanded to come out of Babylon and gather together
that they might not be made partakers of her plagues that would
soon be poured out upon the wicked.
There was plenty of lumber at hand so my husband went
to work and soon had a log cabin built for us to live in. There
was no saw mill so he had to do the best he could with the lumber
as it was. He got out straight-grained oak and split out boards
for the roof, floor and door. There was no window. He made a dirt
chimney and fireplace. This rude structure was up and ready to move
into in about two weeks. The cold and storms were becoming severe
and how I did appreciate this shelter from the rude blasts of December.
The next thing was the question of food. All of our supply
was gone now and there was no alternative but for my husband to
go into an adjoining county and seek employment to provide something
for us to live upon. My two little boys had come down with the whooping
cough and their father had to leave us and go thirty-five miles
over the bleak prairie with his team. He found some work and started
home with two barrels of corn and one hundred pounds of coarse flour.
The cold was so intense that he almost perished. At one time he
felt himself going to sleep and thought he was freezing. His limbs
were numb but exerting all of his strength he managed to get out
of the wagon and finally got the use of his limbs but dared not
get back into the wagon again. He finally reached home with his
winter supply of food. We found later that deer was plentiful in
this place and my husband being a good, marksman we had plenty of
The little boys, Eli and Lachoneus, had the cough very
hard and did not get over it until spring. We had plenty of wood
to burn to keep us warm, which was a great blessing. The deer were
fat and I made candles of their tallow to give us light and we were
happy and felt that the Lord is ever mindful of those who put their
trust in Him, and we never felt to murmer or complain. When spring
came my husband entered a piece of land three miles from Far
West. He planted corn and other things and we had a
nice crop that season. All things moved along pleasantly that summer.
Brother Joseph and his father and brother came to Far West, so we had our Prophet and Patriarch with us again.
In this we felt to rejoice for from time to time we had the privilege
of listening to the words of life and salvation that flowed from
Before our crop matured we had to live very carefully
to make our food supply hold out and we often had to dig roots and
pick greens to make a meal. Also shoes and clothing we could not
get to make us more comfortable. Our one great blessing however
was that the spirit of mobocracy had lulled
and we had peace so far in Caldwell County.
But the third year after we settled there and began to spread out
and increase and also to prosper the enemy began to stir up the
hearts of the people. Mobs would come to the small settlements and
abuse the inhabitants, turn their horses into the brethrens
cornfields, burn homes, and so on until
the brethren were forced to stand in self defense. They had been
smitten on one cheek and turned the other until they thought it
was enough. There was the Hauns Mill massacre with the atrocious
and bloody butchery that befell those innocent citizens by fiends
in human form.
And again on Crooked river,
where there was a settlement twenty miles from Far
West. A band of mobocrats, with a Methodist preacher
at their head as a Captain, rode into the settlement and took men
prisoners without any offense whatever, insulted women and destroyed
property Finally the Brethren there dispatched a messenger in the
night to Far West for assistance. The alarm was given at midnight
by the beating of drums- on the Public
Square in Far West.
My husband dressed and went over as fast as he could to find out
what the trouble was. A call was made at once for volunteers to
go with a company to assist in dispersing the mob. I had a new baby,
two weeks old, and was confined to my bed with chills and fever,
and no one to stay with me, but I told my husband to go that I would
The Company started right away on this short notice,
for they had to stand as minute men in those perilous times. They
rode on to the edge of the timber and skirted the river, when the
guard of the mob fired upon them killing one young man by the name
of O'Banion. Two of the brethren took care of him while the company
went on down to disperse the camp of mobocrats. Shots were exchanged
and the battle was on. The enemy was routed but not without the
shedding of blood. Captain David W. Patten was wounded and died
the next day. Gideon Carter was killed outright, and others were
In the conflict the enemy took to flight and left their
camping outfit. Some left their horses, while others cut their horses
loose and rode them away. In their flight some left their guns.
As is always customary in the battle the spoil of the defeated party
is taken by the victors, and in, this case who were the aggressors
and who fired the first shot? Our brethren went to this place to
protect their neighbors from the ravages of this mob and make peace
if possible. Would they see men shot down and not raise a hand in
their defense? Verily the brethren were justified in what they
did, according to the laws of our country and our God. My husband
had his sword torn from him in the conflict and in the spoil he
took a rifle. Now I guess this would be called stealing by some
of the "large souled" authors of the abominable falsehoods that
have been in circulation about the Mormons, such as Mr. Cullom alludes
to in his notorious speech in the House. (In January,
1870 the Cullom bill against polygamy did not pass.)
Well to return to my narrative. My husband came home
next day. I had not been out of bed for I was so sick. My little
boy, Eli, five years old was all that I had to wait on me. When
my husband came in I could see at a glance at his face that there
had been trouble. He related to me what had happened and of the
brethren being killed. This news so overcame me and made me more
sick than I was.
The news of this battle spread like wildfire through
the states. This was sufficient to arouse the whole state to action
and come out against us with the exterminating order, because this
once our people had stood out in self defense, determined to protect
their brethren from these hostile bands, but as I said the whole
state was now aroused and in arms to come up against us. The leader,
General Clark, marched his hosts up to within a mile and a half
of Far West and camped there. Then
Clark with some of his officers came into Far
West and demanded our Prophet and his brother, Hyrum,
and others of the brethren and, took them as prisoners down to their
camp and put a strong guard around them.
Previous to their being taken into the camp of the enemy,
Brother Joseph had called the brethren together and talked to them.
He told them to be valiant and firm in their trust in God. Said
he, "I never realized that the enemy was so near to our doors.
But brethren be stout hearted." He said
many more things to strengthen them in this hour of peril, for it
seemed that we were about to be swallowed up by this mighty host.
As I said, they put a strong guard around the prisoners, held a
Court Martial and sentenced them to be shot the next morning. I
was still sick in bed and that night I could hear their martial
band playing and I can never forget the sound of it for it seemed
that all the infuriated demons of the lower regions felt to triumph
because they expected to see those pure and noble men shot down.
morning came their hopes were blasted. Truly the poet said, "God
moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform". All of a sudden,
a spirit more noble than the rest, Colonel Doniphan, ordered the
men under his command into line and to march on, saying, "I will
not obey your orders, it would be cold blooded murder". This caused
a division in the camp and the lives of our leaders were spared
at this time, and they were brought into the city and permitted
to take leave of their families. The aged parents of the Prophet
Joseph and Hyrum and their little ones clinging to them and crying
should have been enough to melt a heart of stone.
My husband did not witness this, for the time
had come when he must take care of himself, for the enemy was hunting
for all of those who took part in the Crooked
river battle. Our leaders were hurried off to suffer during the
cold winter months. After the prisoners were secured the General
came into the public square and ordered the Brethren to sign over
their property to defray the expense of the war. He made his speech and gave
his order of extermination.
Also the Brethren were ordered
to stack their arms, My husband had given
the gun he took at Crooked river to someone else, so it was stacked
with the others, His own gun he took apart and threw the barrel
on top of the house and the rest in the cellar, so they did not get his.
Well, all of
these events are written in Church history, so I will end
this part by bearing my testimony to the facts because they came
under my observation, our home being near the Public square, Captain
Bogart with his men were camped near our house. They came to our
house to search for arms
and my husband, and they came close upon him once but in God's providence he evaded them so they
did not find him, He could not remain around home but he was in
the city, They put a double guard around my house and I with my
three children, Eli 5, Lachoneus 3, and Mosiah, three weeks old
were prisoners in our home, I was sick with the baby in my arms
with nothing to nourish or strengthen me and only my little boy
to get me a drink of water.
Finally Brother Wood came and put us in his wagon and took us to
his home. I was shaking with the ague when I was put in the wagon
and continued in that condition for
two hours, until every bone in my body felt as though they
would break into pieces. But that was the last attack that I had.
We left the guard behind with nothing but the empty house to guard.
Now the crisis had come and we had to leave the state
and not attempt to put in another crop, for
if we did the citizens would be upon us again. The General
said there was a discretionary power vested in him to let us stay
until spring. So he sent his army to their homes telling them to
be in readiness in case they were called for
It was in vain that we importuned for redress. No attention was paid to
our entreaties. This crusade was allowed to go on against an innocent
people and there was no alternative but to sacrifice our homes and
lands that were bought and honestly paid for.
And why this outburst of
persecution? For the same reason that in every age
of the world when
God has had a people
on the earth they were persecuted, imprisoned, and put to death
in like manner by wicked men because they worshipped the true and
living God and obeyed His commandments, and not because they had
broken any law.
In the strictest sense of the word the Saints were a
law abiding people, and no one honored and revered the laws of the
land more than they did. We were taught to do so, and I know whereof
I speak, and it is true, and I feel constrained to write as I do,
for perhaps some do not know what to believe, for there has
been so many falsehoods afloat about this people. But I say, here
is my testimony, that there is not another people on the face of the earth that are as
careful to uphold and obey the law and good order as the Latter-day
Saints. I have lived in the world and traveled and have been identified
with this Church for fifty years and I speak according to knowledge.
Well it is alright. We are to be a tried people and to be tried
like gold, seven times, and if we did not taste the bitter we could
not prize the sweet. So let us keep our covenants and trust in God
and He will work out our salvation for us.
But to turn to my narrative. It was now winter and because of our troubles not much
preparation had been made for our comforts, let alone for another
move. And Brother Joseph forgetting his own sufferings would often
send cheerful messages to the Saints and telling them to get away
as fast as they could, for there would be no chance for him as long
as one remained. Imagine our feelings to leave the state and leave
our Prophet and brethren in a cold dungeon, with food loathsome
beyond description placed before them of which they could not partake.
But leave we must, and as fast as they could the Saints
started out. I think that it was the first of March that our family
started out to go to Illinois,
for this was the direction that the Saints were traveling. My husband
fitted up our conveyance the best that he could. It was a cart with
a bed sheet for a covering and one horse. He was a noble spirited
animal and did his part well. We called him Prince. After he had
taken us safely out of the state he laid down and died. I cannot describe our sufferings on this
journey. There were five of us in this small conveyance and we
could not take anything but our bed and a little clothing and food.
It stormed incessantly on the way and the roads were very bad and
sometimes we could not travel more than five miles in one day. When
we got to the Mississippi bottoms, which
was several miles across, it was almost impossible to travel
for mud and water. At night we would gather sticks and shrubs to
lay our bed down on and then by morning we would be wet to the skin.
At last we reached the river and we had money enough
to be taken across. We had been three weeks on the way. We crossed
at Quincy and went up the river
a few miles and then stopped for awhile to rest. As I said before
our horse had died, .so we stayed in Adams
one year. Before going up to Nauvoo we raised a small crop in this
place and it was enough for us to live on during the winter that
we were there. There were five families there with us that had come
from Missouri and had shared in the persecutions
there. There were three families by the name of Tippets, and Brother
G. Perry. We enjoyed ourselves during the time that we stayed there
although there was a time of sadness over the death of Brother John
Tippet's wife. She was much esteemed by all of us because of her
goodness and her passing cast a gloom over us for a time.
In the spring Brother Alva Tippets loaned us a horse
to carry us to Nauvoo. I will not attempt to go into details the
escape of our leaders from prison. Sufficeth it
to say that they arrived at Nauvoo before we did. A kind
providence had worked out their deliverance. Well, here we were
again, not conquered in spirit but determined to live our religion
by obeying the principles of the gospel and build up the Kingdom of God.
The people in Illinois
seemed hospitable and willing to give us a resting place, but how
long they would feel like this time alone would tell. It was a very
unhealthy place to live in, especially for children. We bought us
a city lot and built us a comfortable log house at the foot of the
hill near the street that led up to the temple lot. We sold this
lot to Brother Wilford Woodruff and took another lot one block
west of it. We were able to build a better house, a frame one with
two rooms. My fourth child who was born after we arrived
at Nauvoo, died in this house when he was one year and eight months
old. After his death I took a school and taught a term of three
The work on the temple had commenced and the basement
was nearly completed. Elders were being sent out to the nations
to preach the gospel. Emigrants were coming in from different parts
of the earth, and the Kingdom was rolling on. At about this time
the Relief Society was organized with Emma Smith as President and
Eliza R. Snow as secretary. I was a member of this first Society.
It was organized for the relief of the poor and every other noble
purpose that comes within woman's sphere of action. Many good instructions
were given at these meetings. Sometimes Brother Joseph would come
and instruct us. At one time in particular I remember of Emma bringing
him in and he prayed at the opening of the meeting. He was full
of the spirit of God. His whole body shook and his face
shone and look almost transparent. This was at about the
time that the Celestial order of marriage was revealed to him and
he had taught it to a few that could bear it. I had heard him say
at one time from the stand in the grove at the brow of the hill
where we held meetings, "If I should make known to these. (turning to those who sat behind him) Who pretend to be my friends,
what my God has revealed to me, they would be the first to seek
my life." Among those who sat there were William Law and William
Marks and as we know these men did become his most bitter enemies,
although they had pretended friendship.
It was not all sunshine for very long here in Nauvoo.
Clouds began to gather and Brother Joseph was arraigned many
time before the law but was always cleared of the charges
preferred against him. It seemed that no man was ever harassed as
he was, and for what reason? Because he was a Prophet raised up
in the midst of this wicked and perverse generation to be an instrument
in the hands of God to lay the foundation of His kingdom on the
earth. And as we read in Holy writ that in like manner they persecuted
the Prophets before.
We had an offer to sell our home again and we decided
to do so. This time we realized $225 in cash and. We bought a quarter
of an acre of land up on the hill near the temple. It was a beautiful
location. In front to the east was the Public square,
on the south the temple and the main street called Mullholland
Street. Here, we thought would be our
home and we would move no more. My husband did his own carpenter
work and he built us a good frame house with three rooms and a good
cellar. I enjoyed living in this house very much. I could look over
to the temple and see the workmen at their work and hear the click
of the masons hammers from morn until eve and their sailor's songs
as they were pulling the rock into place with pulleys, and I thought
it all very delightful.
One day I looked over to the temple and saw a large crowd
gathered at the north east corner. I saw some females in the crowd
so I put on my bonnet and shawl and went over. Brother Joseph seemed
very busily engaged. The crowd around the corner stone was so great
that at first I could not see what was being done. Then Brother
Joseph said, "Brethren stand back and let these sisters come and
see for themselves. There were only three of us, Sisters Whitney,
Calhoon and myself. As the brethren moved aside we went up to the
huge stone and in the center of it a square block had been chiseled
out. I think it was about a foot square and was lined with zinc.
In this receptacle Brother Joseph placed a Bible, a Book of Mormon,
a Doctrine and Covenants, a Hymn Book and other Church works and
some newspapers, The Nauvoo Neighbor and Times and Seasons and some
money that had been coined that year. Then a lid of stone was cemented
down and the House built on top of it.
The building progressed with great rapidity and I was
present when the cap stone was laid. The Saints turned out to hear
the last ring of the trowel and to hear the address on that occasion.
During the building of the temple the brethren had a great deal
to contend with because the people of the state were getting more
hostile towards us all the time. But the Lord held them at bay until
the house was finished and He had accepted it at their hands.
Previously the Prophet had written his "Views
on the Powers and Policy of the United States Government", and it
was printed in pamphlet form. The elders were being sent out to
preach the gospel and were given these pamphlets to take with them
and introduce them to the world. My husband was among the number
called and he was to go to the state of New York, consequently
would go and visit his birthplace before returning home. I had a
great desire to go with him and stay among our relatives until he
fulfilled his mission. He went and asked counsel of Brothers Joseph
and Hyrum and they told him to take me along and I would prove a
blessing to him. So he received his instructions and we rented
our house and started out. Our course was to go down the Mississippi
river on a steamboat Osprey to St. Louis
and on the Robert Fulton down to the mouth of the Ohio River, then
up the river to Pittsburg, then by rail and canal until we reached Buffalo. We took a steamboat
on Lake Ontario and landed at Sacketts Harbor
on the 20th of June 1844. We were now within twelve miles
of Father Tracy's home. My husband walked eight miles to the home
of his brother-in-law, Samuel Mattison, and he with his team came
after us and took us to his home that night.
The next day we went to Father Tracy's home and met with
a cordial greeting from our relatives in general. We had been gone
from them for about ten years. We had been visiting and enjoying
ourselves for one short week when we heard the heart-rending news
of the murder of our dear Prophet and Patriarch, who so short a
time before had instructed my husband concerning his mission and
had come to the boat to see us off. Could it be true that these noble
men had to seal their testimony with their blood? My husband was
so stricken with the blow that he could hardly bear up under it.
The cry around us now was, "Your church will go to pieces now that
your leaders have been killed". They did not comprehend the prophecies
concerning the Kingdom of God
in the Latter Days, and that God was able to raise
up another to stand as a mouthpiece for Him to His people.
But now it was gloomy sorrowful time in Nauvoo. These
men gave themselves up to be tried with the pledge of the state
that they would be protected, but the result is well known. The
plan was concocted from the official head down to the lowest demons
that committed the dark deed. And this our boasted land of Liberty
that our father fought and bled to redeem from under the iron yoke,
that we might be permitted to worship God as we chose and as our
conscience dedicated. But where now is protection from mob violence
and persecution? How often have the Saints asked for redress from
mob violence and persecution from the leaders of this nation and
they have turned a deaf ear to our entreaties. But surely the day
it at hand when God will laugh at their calamities and mock when
their fear cometh, and the Saints will
triumph over all their foes. So we will leave them in the hands
of God for He says, "Vengeance is mine and I will repay".
Before we went to New York my husband was in the employ of one
Amos Davis, a merchant in Nauvoo. He had been with him a year and
a half. When we settled up with him he very generously presented
my husband with a broadcloth suit and a hat and boots and me with
a dress pattern. Said he regretted to part with him and when he
returned he could have his job back if he wanted it.
While we were in New York my husband preached the gospel to
many and baptized two persons. He advocated Brother Joseph's views
on the Powers and Policy of the United States Government. We bore
our testimonies to our relatives and in the spring of 1845 bade
them all goodbye and returned to our home in Nauvoo. We arrived
at the "City of the Saints" about the middle of April 1845, on a
Sunday morning. O' how lonely it seemed with our Prophet and Patriarch
not there with the Saints. But he was there with them in spirit
and at a later day his mantle fell upon Brigham Young, as the mantle
of Elijah fell upon Elisha. I witnessed this event and it seemed
that the voice and every gesture of Brigham Young was
like that of Joseph, and he was sustained as Prophet, Seer, and
Revelator by the voice of the people.
Soon after we got back to Nauvoo my youngest child, two
years and two months old was taken very sick and in two weeks he
passed away. This was two children that we had buried in Nauvoo.
They were buried side by side and were about the same age at the
time of death. They were two fine children, William Francis and
Theodore Franklin. It seemed almost impossible to raise a child
The spirit of enmity and hatred seemed to fill hearts
of the gentiles against us, but still the brethren continued the
work on the temple determined to finish it and at last succeeded
until the Lord was satisfied. Ordinances were performed during the
winter of 1845 and 1846 prior to the exit of the Saints from Illinois.
For it was again "To your tents 0' Israel." We did not enjoy our beautiful
city and temple very long. The temple was a fine structure to behold.
I remember being aroused from my sleep one night by hearing such
heavenly music. Everything was so still and quiet when it burst
upon my ear. I could not at first imagine from what source it came.
I got out of bed and looked out of the window toward the temple.
There on the roof I saw the bands congregated and they were playing
beautifully. The moon was shining brightly and the music was delightful.
At another time the roof of the temple was on fire. How
the fire started I never did find out but it seemed for awhile that
the building would be consumed. Wells were drained of their water
and finally wagons and teams with barrels brought water from the
river. Men, women and children worked until the fire was conquered,
but considerable damage was done. It seemed that the evil one was
determined to harass the Saints in every way.
Now the time was coming when we must take up the line
of march, this time far away to the west,
where white man's foot had never trod and find a resting place among
the red men. We were permitted to receive our blessings in the temple
during the winter previous to our leaving. On March 15, 1846 I gave
birth to my sixth son (Austin) and our journey was delayed until
I was able to travel. I think it was the first of June before we
got started across the river with what substance we could take with
us. We had but one yoke of cattle so we could not take much, only
our provisions and clothes. Where we were going we did not know,
but go the Saints must and sacrifice their homes and their all to
satisfy the blood-thirty appetites of our enemies. Our only chance
to survive was to go into the wilderness for we could no longer
live in Babylon
and serve God.
With about ten families we left Nauvoo and commenced
our journey. We had not as yet organized camp as they were afterwards
organized. On we traveled and when we came near Council Bluffs, Iowa
we camped one afternoon on what was called Mosquito creek. Our second
son Lachoneus, eleven years of age took his fishing line and hook
and went fishing where we camped by a stream. He fished for a while
then came back to camp with a nice string of fish and said to his
oldest Brother Eli, "Here you can have these." He then came to me
and said, "0 mother my head is so hot, it seems all afire." We decided
it was a severe attack of brain fever and we stopped traveling and
did every thing we could under the circumstances, exercising our
faith day and night, but in twelve days he passed away. There were
four families camped with us but we were alone in the wagon with
him the night he died, with the exception of a cousin, O. Colvin.
I made the clothes to lay him away in, and put them on him myself.
Brother Blodgett made his coffin and he was laid away the best manner
possible, but alone in this uninhabited country except for the Pottawatomie
Indians and a few French and half breeds. He was buried on the banks
of the Missouri river about eight
miles from our camp.
This was a sad blow to us and hard to bear. He was a
very bright and promising boy. I had now buried three of my children
and had three left. After he was buried I got into the wagon and
wrote a few lines as they came to my mind. They ran thus:
Lachoneus, your noble spirit has flown,
And gone to brighter realms on high
Where pain and sorrow never come
While mortality lies moldering in the dust.
You was a dear and faithful boy
Unto your parents, likewise to God.
You loved to read His holy word,
Your mind was old beyond your years.
Sleep on dear child, and rest awhile,
Ere long the trump of God will sound
To wake the sleeping dead, and then
On that happy resurrection morn
We shall meet again, no more to part,
To reign with Christ a thousand years,
Where SAINTS will dwell, all robed in white.
It was now the last of August and we decided to stay
where we were until the next spring as there was timber, also food
for our cattle. By this time there were several families who stopped
here to rest. My husband put up a cabin and Brothers Colvin, Blodget
and also built small houses for the winter, thinking we would move
on in the spring. We of course had not much to live upon as we had
to leave most of our substance behind in Nauvoo, only taking what
we could with only one yoke of oxen to pull us. However, there were
a good many emigrants traveling to California
and we got some provisions from them. Also we planted some turnip
seed and they did well and this helped us out. Our own people were
constantly pouring into this place and stopped to rest. Some went
a few miles farther on and called the place "Winter Quarters".
There were several families by the name of Carter who stopped with
us, so this place was called Cartersville. By the time that winter
had set in there were about twenty families who settled here and
built log houses. We also put up a log school house which was also
used for a meeting house.
It was about two miles from this settlement where the
Saints were called together as they were traveling and a call made
for 500 volunteers for the United
States army. This took all of the
able bodied men and left only the old and infirm and young boys
to take care of the women and little ones. All who have read the
history of the Church know of these circumstances and how the Saints
suffered that winter at Winter Quarters, which had become the general
stopping place for the Saints. Little did we think when we stopped
with our sick boy that the Saints in their march would settle in
here and around about for the winter.
We had school and meetings and the winter passed off
very agreeably. The Saints would go forth in the dance and we were
happy in spite of our hardships. The spirit of God was with us and
we felt to rejoice for there was none in our midst to prohibit us
from worshipping God according to the dictates of our conscience.
We had no fear of enemies and had the Red Men for our neighbors
and they were very civil that winter. Our old friend Amos Davis
came through and called on us. He was traveling through to Kanesville
with goods. He was glad to see us and we made him as comfortable
as we could. When he left he gave us rice and sugar to last us all
We did not leave this place as we had expected to do
in the spring. We lived here for three years and raised grain and
vegetables and did well. My seventh son (Helon Henry) was born here
on the 25th of February 1849. When we left to continue
our journey out west we were fitted up with two yoke of oxen and
one yoke of cows. Both of the cows were giving milk when we started
out. We crossed over the Missouri river
and went into the Camp of the Saints for there was a general rally
to move on this spring of 1850. We all gathered on the Bluffs to
or organize the Camps. There were 100 wagons to move on in our
company. Brother Hawkins was Captain of the hundred and there were
Captains of fifty's and Captains of ten's. Thomas Johnson was Captain
over the fifty that we were in.
After all was made ready we started out on our toilsome
journey to the Rocky Mountains.
This was about the tenth of June 1850. My husband was Captain over
the second 10's. Traveling was very slow on account of new roads
and the lengthy train. We took a widow with us by the name of Brocket.
We traveled on to the Platt river county without any trouble or
sickness, but sometimes Indians would come into the camp and steal.
At one time a young Indian got away with a sack of crackers. The
old Chief brought him back into the camp and made him give them
up and whipped him severely before the camp. This was while we were
in the Sioux Nation.
While we were near the Platt in the buffalo country the
men decided to rest the teams for a day or two and have a hunt.
Several went out but the weather was very hot and the drinking water
bad. They came in one night loaded with buffalo meat. One young
man, Charles Johnson, was taken with the cholera that night and
died at daybreak. He was rolled in a blanket and buried in a deep
grave as there were many wolves in that place.
This was the beginning of cholera in the camp. After that there were several deaths in the company, some of cholera
and some of other complaints. Then one died of smallpox, but great caution
was used and no more took it but nearly all were vaccinated. We
continued our journey now and with the camp divided into 50's we
traveled in two companies so we traveled with more comfort than
with such a large company.
When we came to the Black Hills
there was some deserted soldiers there
and they came into camp. They begged to travel with us
but they were soon overtaken by their
officers and strapped on horses and taken back to quarters. I suppose
they had to pay the penalty.
The camp stopped in the Black Hills
to let the cattle rest and put shoes on them for their feet had
become sore and tender so they could hardly travel. We stayed there
twelve days and the men killed elk and deer until we were all supplied.
It was salted and dried over the smoke so it would keep for the
remainder of the journey. While we were there the wolves made the
nights hideous with their howling. There were panthers there also
and I was glad for my part when we rode out of the place for I did
not fancy that kind of enemies. And so we left them as we did those
who had robbed and driven us from our homes and possessions.
The journey was long and tedious and sometime we had
to camp without wood or water. I have seen the cattle tied up at
night without food or water after traveling all day. We had two
cows that worked in the yoke all the time, but they gave us milk
so when there was no water we had milk to drink for our supper.
The traveling became more slow and fatiguing every day. When we
got to the crossing of the Green river
it looked deep and angry and ran very swift.
the first that went into the river was Brother Gifford. He held
onto the ox bows as long as he could but lost his hold and the current
took him down. Some of the brethren had gotten across and one of
them jumped into the stream to his rescue and brought him ashore,
but he was nearly gone, however, he came around alright after awhile.
The rest got over without accident and we moved on toward the mountains
which we were now nearing. At last we began to climb their heights
and finally reached the summit. Then we looked down into the valley
below, the goal of our destination. It looked like a paradise dotted
with dwellings and gardens. Our eyes dwelt and feasted upon the
lovely scene. After three months of hard toil and travel, under
circumstances of a trying nature, on the fifteenth of September
1850 we came into Salt Lake City.
We camped for a few days on the west side of the city
to look around and rest and see where to make a home. My husband's
health was very much impaired from our long journey and constant
exposure. Cold weather was coming on and we traveled north eight
miles to Sessions settlement to get better feed for our stock. We
camped there three weeks. My husband and oldest son went into the
mountains and got out wood which they sold to get our food. The
crickets had made havoc on the crops so provisions were hard to
get. This was the third year that an attempt had ever been made
to grow anything in this desert land.
Brocket was still with us and shared our humble fare. It was now
the middle of October and very cold. Something had to be done for
a place to live before long. A number of families had gone north
to the Ogden river valley and they had built a fort
called Mound Fort. We consulted together and thought it best to
move on to this place, a distance of about thirty-five miles. Sister
Brocket decided to go no farther as she could get a place to live
where we were. She had been very good in helping to take care of
the children and doing what she could, but she was feeble in health.
We bade her good-bye and started north.
We were nearly three days in going to the Ogden River.
We crossed over it and went north to the Fort where we built a small
cabin and moved into it. Then we had to secure some food for we
were now on rations. My husband sold a yoke of our cattle and got
a large fat ox. This he traded for twelve bushels of wheat and this
with a few pounds of corn was our food for the winter. I did not
feel to complain. I would cut the children a slice of bread and
tell them to thank our Heavenly Father for it and they were satisfied
and we were happy.
My husband took up a piece of land one mile west of the
Fort. Timber was plentiful along the river and we put up a long
house of two rooms on this land. We moved down into it during the
winter. The Indians had a large camp nearby on the river. They were
quite civil and good neighbors. We had no trouble with them. The
young Indians would come to play and wrestle with our boys. At
one time one of them wrested with my son Mosiah who threw him and
the fall put his elbow out of joint. This scared the young native
badly but the Indians put it down as a mark of bravery.
the winter passed off but it was a hard cold one. In the spring
we prepared to put some seed into the ground, all that we could
get in those scarce times. We planted but high water from the river
flooded and injured the crop a great deal and the grasshoppers came
but we fought them and saved enough for our bread. But before the
crop matured it was very hard to get food. Sometimes we had to eat
roots and wild onions and that did not satisfy hunger. In the latter
part of the summer we got a good many sarvice berries from the Indians
which made our fruit for the winter and they were very nice indeed.
In the fall of 1851 there came
a large sheep herd which was going through to California. It was so late in the season that
they abandoned the idea of going any farther. They drove their herd
down to the Weber river
to winter. A great number of the sheep died. The Indians would pick
the wool off and sell it for a mere trifle. I got fifty or sixty
pounds of it which I cleaned thoroughly and the next summer made
it into cloth and made comfortable clothes for my family out of
On May 2, 1852 my eighth son, David Seymour was born.
There was high water again this spring hut the men had levied and
fixed up the bank of the river so it did not do so much damage.
We had a fair crop but had to fight the grasshoppers again to get
it. My husband went to work and made a fanning mill to clean the
grain. It was the only one around, so it brought us in a good deal
of grain for the use of it. Emigrants were traveling through this
year to California
in large numbers and they helped the Saints by trading goods and
groceries for bread stuff and feed for their teams. We traded the
oxen that brought us into the valley for a span of horses. This
year of 1852 there was some trouble with the Indians and it was
considered best to live in the Fort. The place selected was called
Bingham's Fort. It was one mile north of our home.
My husband pulled our house
down and moved it to Bingham's Fort. There was a school house so
we could send our children to school. It was also used for a meeting
house. My children were sick most of the winter. My husband built
a good adobe house and we were quite comfortable the three or four
years that we lived there. My ninth and last son was born the 19th
of June 1854. We named him Charles Albert.
Our son Mosiah was called to
go on a mission to the Lamanites. A short time after our oldest
son Eli was also called. The place where they went was called Fort Supply.
In the winter Eli was brought home very sick with mountain fever.
He had married and his wife was staying with me. Eli lay in a low
condition for a longtime, but good nursing such as a wife and mother
can give brought him out of it alright. In the spring he went back
and took his wife with him, and their first child was born while
they were there. When this baby girl was six months old they came
home, on April 25th, 1857.
Our son Mosiah went to California. This grieved us sorely and caused
us to mourn. If we had buried him at the side of his brothers we
would not have felt as bad as we did because of the circumstances
that caused him to leave. He became so unhappy because of that which
had transpired, and to use his own language he said that under existing
circumstances he could not stay here any longer. As he bade us goodbye
his father said, "I shall never see him again". And he never did.
(Note - As a girl in my early teens, about the year 1900, my mother
sent me across the street to stay nights with my aged grandmother.
One evening she had been reading the newspaper and as I entered
she began talking about an article she had read. It was about a
party of Weber county sheriffs who on horses were chasing a fugitive
horse thief. They were close upon him when he swung in his saddle
and fired a shot killing one of the sheriffs. The sheriff's picture
was in the paper. Grandma held it up for me to see and quietly said.
"That is the man who took Mosiah's sweetheart away from him." Up
to that time I had never heard mentioned by any member of the family
the reason why Mosiah went away. But my mother said that grandmother
received a letter from him and he said he would come home before
his ailing father passed away, but he never did and never was heard
from again, and it was believed that he started out to come and
was killed by Indians as he was riding alone on his pony. -
That spring we moved back to the farm from the Fort.
My husband had been sick a great deal of the time and it was hard
for him to travel back and forth to take care of his work. On September
18, 1857 my first daughter was born, she being my tenth child. We
decided she should have a long name so we named her Mary Ellen Naomi.
That winter the brethren were out nearly the whole winter keeping
back Johnson's army, but my husband's health was so poor that he
could not be with them. It was the first time that he had ever stayed
behind when there had been any trouble, so he was constantly fretting
and worrying because he could not go. In the spring of 1858 word
came from our leaders that we were all to move south. So we did
not plant any seed in the ground because we did not expect to be
here to harvest it. And if the army came in to take possession the
Saints were intending to commit the whole to the flames to prevent
them from doing so, after, through our hard work, the desert had
been subdued and the wild waste was
made to yield abundantly of the bounties of the earth.
Yes the Saints were going to make a general sacrifice
and men were left to watch the movements of the army while the Saints
were traveling south. Our oldest son Eli was one that was left to
guard the homes. His wife and children traveled with us south. All
the help I had was Austin who was fourteen years old. He drove the
team and loose stock. My husband was sick and I had a young babe
in my arms. Our plight seemed worse than when we were crossing the
plains. When we got to Salt
Lake City we stopped for a month then moved
on. The towns were nearly all vacated. We got as far south as Provo when my husband had a third paralytic
stroke. We stayed there for a few days then traveled on as far as
Payson but could go no farther with him. We stopped and made a shade
of willows by the side of the road to protect him from the sun by
day and dew by night. In this condition I remained with him day
after day not expecting him to live.
Sister Jane Colvin, a widow, was camped near us and helped
me all that she could during that hard trying time. My children
were becoming destitute of clothing but we did not murmur or complain.
My husband said that if he could only live to see his family back
in our home once more he would be willing then to die. The Lord
gave him the desire of his heart in this for there had been a compromise
made with the army and they were to pass through Salt
Lake City and go to their quarters peaceably
and we could all return to our homes. We did not stay long after
this message came but with my sick husband we started for home.
We arrived on July 4, 1858.
We were truly thankful to get back to a place to rest.
My husband was so glad to get back that he seemed to
revive and went about the place to look
after things and tried to save some volunteer wheat, for that was
all that had grown on the place that year. He kept up until the
first of August then was prostrated and never rallied again. He
died on the 25th of August 1858. His suffering was very
great until death came and relieved him. Our oldest son Eli was
not at home and did not know of his father's death. There were only
three wagons to go with me to bury him as only a few had returned
from the south.
I felt very lonely and worn out but God gave me strength
in my afflictions as He ever has in all of my sorrows, and made
me equal to every task.
In all of the twenty-eight years of our married life we had been
mobbed and driven from place to place. The longest time that we
had ever lived in one place was when we lived at Nauvoo. We lived
in Nauvoo eight years before our expulsion.
Two or three weeks after I buried my husband, my little
girl, now one year old, was taken very sick and I was afraid for
awhile that she would follow her father. It
seemed that my cup of sorrow was running over, but the Lord heard
my prayers and her life was spared.
I had received letters from my son Mosiah who had been
gone for two years. He gave me his address and I wrote and told
him of his father's death, and how he grieved about him. He wrote
and told me that he would come home if his life was spared, but
he never came, and whether alive or dead I know not.
Winter was approaching and my children were destitute
of clothing and I had little to feed them. I did not know what to
do. I had my hay cut and had more than my stock would consume and
having a chance to sell some for shoes and store pay I was very
glad to do so and this helped me out for the winter. I think it
was twenty dollars I received for the hay and I felt very grateful
for this blessing, although it was not enough for our entire comfort.
My husband's lengthy illness and death and not raising any food
stuff due to the move south had left us in very poor circumstances
indeed. But soon spring came again and I tried to put in wheat although
the seed was hard to get. I borrowed some wheat to sow by giving
interest and got along the best I could under the circumstances.
Hard times stared me in the face until harvest time came. It was
new to me to have to manage outdoor affairs and I was not equal
to the task. My oldest son had a family of his own to care for.
Austin was only fifteen.
My husband's brother Horace had a farm adjoining mine and he proposed
looking after our interests and working the farm for us. I consented
to this proposition and was married to him for time in April 1860.
I felt that this would relieve me of so great a responsibility.
I was so completely worn out with toil and hardships of which my
whole life had been made up since embracing the Gospel. It had been
one continual scene of persecution and sacrifice of our property
since our first gathering with the Saints at Kirtland.
Some times I felt that I could not endure any more, then
my Heavenly Father would strengthen me and I felt to be humble and
resigned knowing that God's people have always had to suffer persecution.
I always felt that my religion was worth more to me than anything
in the world and I felt determined to live it let come what might.
Through all of my sufferings I have never doubted but felt to cling
to the gospel and to encourage others with all the power that I
possess to do likewise. I taught my family the principles of the
gospel and to listen to and obey the counsel of the Lord's anointed.
In September 1861 I had a daughter born of this second
marriage. I was now forty-four years of age and broken down in health,
but with the help of God I was able to attend to my household duties
and take care of my children. I wove the cloth from which I made
their clothing. It is a marvel to me when I looked back upon my
past life, of my journeying in poverty and of the persecutions,
sacrifices, and suffering, that I am alive to tell the tale. It
is more than the power of mortal man that has sustained and preserved
To see 1885 ushered in, it is truly a day that is big
with events and none but the true Latter-day Saints understand
the signs of the times and the fulfillment of prophecy in the earth.
The wicked are slaying the wicked, the earth quakes, destruction
by sea and by land, nation rising against nation as has been told
by the Prophets. Has it not been said that those who would not take
up the sword would flee to Zion for safety. This will
come true for the Latter Day Saints will be the only people at
peace and will cling to the Constitution while their enemies are
tearing it to shreds and are full of animosity and hatred toward
the Kingdom of God.
Truly when the wicked rule the people mourn.
And when we see all of these things taking place we shall
know that the end is near, and that the Kingdom of God
shall prevail. Therefore let us be firm and true, for it must
needs be that offences
come, but woe to them by whom they come. I will now make an end
to my narrative and perhaps in the future my children's children
will read with some degree of interest this short history, although
a hundredth part hath not been told.
Naomi Alexander Tracy
In her late years Nancy's
thoughts often went back to her relatives in New York, many of whom had passed away and
others had grown to manhood and womanhood. She had a great desire
to get in touch with them and give them an opportunity of hearing
of the restored gospel and also obtain a record of her kindred dead
that the saving ordinances might be performed in the temple for
Helon Henry, her seventh son shared his mother's desires
and felt that he would like to go on a mission to the old home of
his parents. He expressed his desire to Apostle Franklin D. Richards
who lived in Ogden and he advised him to write to the General Church
authorities in Salt Lake
City concerning the matter. Helon did so
and Apostle Richards delivered the letter. The result was that Helon
received a call to go on a mission for six months to the New England
states and then go to New
York City and join with a group of missionaries
leaving for the British mission.
When Helon received his call the family met together
and discussed the matter of financial assistance. Helon was 32 years
of age, was married and had a family. His brothers, Eli, Austin,
David and Charles and sisters Mary Ellen and Marinda willingly offered to assist
him with money and to see that his family did not want.
On April 8, 1881 he went to Salt Lake City and was set apart by Brother
William W. Taylor of the First Seven Presidents of Seventy. While
on his mission Helon walked many miles preaching the gospel to relatives
and many others, and obtained many family records in western New
York and in Vermont.
On October 18, 1881 he set sail with the other missionaries
England. On October 28th
arrived at the Millenial Star office and was welcomed by President
Albert Carrington. While in England
he preached the gospel in the Lestershiree district. In his genealogical
research he was able to trace the Tracy
line back to the 8th century. Researched Parish registers
and was able to get records for some of his ward members at home.
His mother was made very happy at the success that Helon
had in obtaining the records and when he returned home the members
of the family traveled with team and wagon to the Logan temple and did the work for their dead.
When the Salt
temple was completed much of the work
was performed there. Helon passed away on April 25, 1893 and his
oldest brother Eli took charge of the work and the records. The
mother Nancy Naomi Tracy passed away on March 11, 1902.