History of Hezekiah Mitchell
Compiled From His Journals By His Granddaughter Mrs. Adelia Horrocks Cameron
1353 Emerson Ave.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Turned in to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers by a great granddaughter, Afton Priscilla Christensen Gunn.
Hezekiah Mitchell was born May 31, 1810, at Simmondly Parish, Glossop Derby, England, son of Thomas and Martha Haigh Mitchell (November 4, 1804).
Hezekiah Mitchell did not keep a journal until 1845; consequently, little is known of his childhood except from bits of information told by his children. From his writing and activities, we have come to know that he was a man of sincerity, honesty and great pride, and that he must have been an upright youth striving always to do good to others. He also had an artistic talent.
The earliest evidence of his art was demonstrated when he was ten years old. At this time his father broke his leg. The first day he was able to come downstairs and rest on a couch, Hezekiah was told by his mother to sit on a chair and be quiet and not disturb his father. I imagine this would be punishment to the boy, so to amuse himself he found apiece of wrapping paper and pen and ink and sketched his father as he lay resting.
What a story this valuable sketching could tell. His mother, like any proud mother, would have praised him for his talent and kept he drawing. I imagine the boy forgot ever doing it until the day he was married. Then his mother gave the drawing to he and his wife. This was carefully guarded during their stay in England and was brought to America on the sailing vessel. This choice drawing finally traveled across the plains in a wagon and was protected during moves. When Hezekiah died, his wife gave it to my mother who treasured it, not even exhibiting it, until a few years before her death. She then had it framed and wrote on the back of it that it was for me. There is no etching I could cherish as highly as I do this drawing. If things work out as I plan I will have it photographed and copies will be available. It is now 140 years old. As I said before, this was the first evidence of his artistic temperament, which was developed later in life because he studied etching and worked at that trade part of the time as a young man.
I am told he attended Oxford University. For how long I do not know, but at one time he was a school teacher. I have the ruler he used—not a measuring rule, but a hardwood round ruler about 14 inches long.
His parents were fairly well to do and Hezekiah himself was capable of making a very good living. I am not sure of the date of his marriage to Sarah Mallinson, who was born November 16, 1810, in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. All went well until Hezekiah joined the church. At this time, they had five children—one son and four living daughters. The son had died as a child. We had no record of Grandfather joining the church, until just last night I was reading his journal written in 1849 while on the boat. He says, "November 16, 1849. It is five years today since I was baptized into this church. A very beautiful day, about 1000 miles from Liverpool. Very pleasant on deck." So I date his baptism as November 16, 1844. He received the priesthood in 1845.
More will be written about the ocean voyage later. From time to time I will quote his own words from his journal so you will feel his spirit as I have done.
Grandmother did not accept the gospel at the time of Grandfather’s baptism. I have heard Mother say she (Grandmother) was baptized about two months before my mother Elizabeth was born, which was April 14, 1846. I imagine the baptism would be about February, 1846.
At the time Hezekiah acceped the gospel, his family and friends turned against him. His father told him never to come to his home again. He was unable to get employment; his family suffered in many ways, but nothing shattered their faith. Grandmother was compelled to do dressmaking to help support the family. Grandfather was told repeatedly, "If you will give up Joe Smith, you can work for us at any time." He was compelled to write his father and brother for money, but only once in his journal is there a record of him going to the post office and receiving a small amount of money from Ruben, his brother.
A notation of baptismal records: He baptized his son F.A.H.F. Mitchell into the church, age 10 years. (I make these notes as I come to them thinking they might help some of you.
Soon after Grandfather’s baptism, he was called to act as clerk of the Sheffield Conference which convened every three months, and each conference thereafter until he left England he was appointed clerk of the conference. This continued, I believe, sixteen of seventeen times until he resigned to come to America.
On December 27, 1846, he was called to preside over the Darnell Branch of the Sheffield Conference. This branch had just been organized. This is when his journals start. There aren’t many personal items unless they pertained to church affairs.
"Sunday, 4 July 1847 – Baptized daughter Lavina. Confirmed Monday, 5 – 1847 – 10 years old."
Often Grandfather had the gift of tongues, also the interpretation of same. He tells often in his journal of the message given to people or branches. He also tells of what tongue he speaks on different occasions. Always after a testimony he bore or laid hands on an individual to bless them, he acknowledged God as the giver of all things and blessed His name.
He tells of one occasion when he and two other brethren journeyed to Catcliff to preach. They stopped at the square, knelt down, had prayer, and sang "How Firm a Foundation." A good crowd gathered to hear them and the principles of the gospel were unfolded to them. While there was no outward disturbance seen… "there was a feeling of danger felt by me as I was talking on repentance and baptism; I felt impressed to make this condition known. I told the group there were some persons there that had evil in their souls and were there for no good and asked them to not disturb those who wanted to hear the truth. There was about eight individuals who sneaked out like they didn’t want to be seen. Others listened to the sermon. I bore a strong testimony telling them I knew what this gospel meant for before I ehard this truth I was a Methodist preacher for eight years. I know what I am talking about. Several came to us after the meeting and wanted to hear more. To God be all the praise."
A note in his journal gives his address in Sheffield as 106 Matilda Street. I would love to go to Sheffield to see if I could find the location.
Grandfather did have a strong testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel. As the story progresses, you will feel the strength of his spirituality. It was a surprise to me to learn from his journal that he was called to a home mission in the branch. I will quote his words: "Thought much on the greatness and surprising sublimity of the work of God established in these last days; but more especially to be a partaker of the blessings of the same, and to be counted worthy of being called and ordained by the holy priesthood to preach the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. My desire is, that I may ever keep myself humble and teachable, that I may make full proof of my ministry and rightly divide the word of God to all as the spirit will." In reading this, I can’t help but feel his goodness, his strength and his humility. Truly, he was a sincere man.
About this time he begins to feel the spirit of coming to zion and mentions it often.
It seems to me that in the early years of the church, Satan was trying hard to destroy the church and all members. I would like to quote another experience as written in his journal.
"Thursday, 14th – 1848. Opened meeting, made some remarks on the power of the gospel which will be heard in all nations. While Elder Shephard was testifying to the work, Sister Gallimore was seized by the devil in such a manner as you never witnessed before whose influence was felt more or less in the meeting. In the name of Jesus, we Elders went and laid hands on her. They obeyed and left. We resumed our seats and the meeting went on as usual. Again they returned, again we rebuked them, but they did not entirely leave. I perceived them returning and laid my hands on her head and asked the other brethren to assist me, Elder Buxton was mouth, the devils fled feeling the power of the priesthood. The people were amazed at the power of God having heard the unpleasant murmurs or more like the barking of dogs and seeing them rebuked. I had the gift of tongues and interpretations just before I closed the meeting which was, that we should rebuke the devils from the room. At my request Elder Whitely opened the door and in solumn prayer , and in the name of the Lord Jesus rebuked the devils from the room. There were about twenty in number. The name of the head or president as given me in the tongue was called PUEBLEBO."
He worked diligently as president of Darnell Branch which was small. It seemed that all the work was done there that could be done. Many had joined the church and the branch was active. Two new branches in the Sheffield Conference were organized, namely Pilley and Strombol. Hezekiah Mitchell was made president of these two new branches and the work continues, Grandfather walking from 8 to 20 miles per day attending to duties of Branch President.
On March 11, 1848, he baptized Priscilla Victoria, his daughter.
"On Wednesday, May 9, 1849, my wife was delivered of a lovely healthy baby boy. I named him Ebenezer Israel." On Wednesday, June 6, 1849, when about 11 miles from home he was told there was sickness at home. He hurried as fast as possible to the family and found his baby son had died. He was overcome with grief by "the Lord’s will be done." It took courage to carry on his missionary work the next two days, but he did it and visited his branches as usual. Then on Sunday, June 10, 1849, between afternoon and evening services the child was interred in St. Mary’s. "The minister used some very strange expressions that are not found in the Bible or anywhere else in the religion of Jesus Christ but found in Mystery Babylon." (This seems strange for a minister to conduct services for the baby, but maybe it was necessary to do so in order for church burial. The Latter-day Saint Church was not recognized at that time.)
His father and brothers still remained bitter toward Grandfather and the church. On Wednesday, April 24, 1848, the following is recorded:
"Was called upon to perform some baptisms and administered to some members for their health. We felt the spirit of God resting on us and blessings received. Our prayers were answered. The praise and glory be to our God. After which I write a letter to my father of which the following is a part:
‘…You say that Joseph Smith was murdered, yes he was, but not for whoredom and thieving as you say, but for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. You say he deserved it, but I say he did not. He was the best man that has been on the earth since the days of Christ and I know he was a true prophetof the Lord. I would advise you to be careful what you say with reference to Joseph Smith for he was one of the Lor’d annointed. You say if you was with me you could read me a lesson. I suppose it would be false as all the rest are, for the devil is never fast to make use of apostates to believe the truth. You say you are astonished that any of your children are Latter-day Saints but I rejoice in being one and you will never get into the kingdom of God until you are born of the water and spirit and then you will be a Latter-day Saint. I have read Galatians 1:8-9, Second Epistle of John 9, 10, 11. The truth always makes people uneasy, obey the truth and it will make you free. You ask if my religion teaches me to turn my back on my wife and children. No but on the contrary it says, ‘Husbands love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.’ It says also ‘Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church and he is the savior of the body.’ Now my dear Father, I testify unto you that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of the Lord, that the church of Jesus Christ is the only true church upon the face of the earth. I mean that of the Latter-day Saints and out of it there is no salvation in the celestial kingdom of God. The saints of God have had persecution in all ages of the world, they have it now. I have my portion with the rest and I rejoice in it ot be countedc worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake, before I will part with my religion, even that from heaven I will lay down my life as Joseph Smith did for it is of God and all hell and wicked men are against the truth , let them kick, the kingdom will never be destroyed, but it shall progress. We intend going to America as soon as we can. Do you ask why; because the Lord has commanded us to gather. If you loved Christ you would keep his commandments.
‘Father, it is not with any ill feelings which makes me talk so plain, but it is with a sincere desire for your salvation. Read those passages which I mentioned in my first letter. Go and hear the saints for yourself and prove them by the word of God.
I remain your loving son
‘P.S. Brother George is not a saint yet, but I wish I could say you were all such an one as myself, then I know you would be heirs of the salvation and sons of God. H.M.’"
(I record these incidents in detail that you will feel his strength in the faith as I have done and that your testimony will be strengthened for his courage and testimony.)
Another quote: "Thursday, June 15, 1848 – For two days I have felt sick in body. This morning no better, have been administered to twice but it seems the power of hell were let loose upon me, but firm in the gospel…I began to think I was going to die. I thought if the Lord wants me I will have to go and was willing. I considered in my mind, Why? I had served mankind faithfully, I had prayed that I might always labor for the church and win souls that their lives might be saved in the kingdom of God. I have upheld the authorities and teachings of the gospel amongst all opposition. I have been ever faithful. While these thoughts were passing through my mind, another strong sentence came to my mind, ‘My word shall never fail.’
"Presently a form was before my mind. I examined it and found it could never be a celestial being. I rose up in bed to get a clearer view and found it was the devil. I rebuked him in the name of the Lord and presently a number of heavenly messengers were sent from the region of bliss. All came within 10 yards of me. The foremost came up to my bedside and said, ‘Hezekiah, thou shalt not die. Satan desires to have thee because you are doing his kingdom much harm. Fear not, thou shalt gather to Zion, fear not, be fo good comfort.’ The messenger bade me farewell and they call looked upon me so loving and pleasant and all moved to me as they departed and left such a pleasant feeling and calmness ofmind as I have never before enjoyed. I sent for Elders Handgan and Barker who administered to me. Much better of the disease and thank God for it."
His activities continue faithfully, stating his work with his ministry strengthened his testimony each day.
On July 10, 1848, "My youngest daughter Elizabeth was ill of the measles and they came out pretty well and we thought she would soon recover. Having retired to bed as usual, placed a table by the bedside, we went to sleep, and about 1 or 2 o’clock we were awakened up by the table being thrown over; when I instantly jumped out of bed, set the table on its legs, then found matches as soon as I could to get a light, and behold!!! To our astonishment the child was dead to all appearances for she was stretched out, eyes set, her face very much discolored as well as other parts of her body. All the measles had entirely gone in. My wife said, ‘She is dead.’ I told her to be still for I was enabled by the spirit to possess myself. I examined her carefully to see if the spirit had left the body, and when I found that she did not breathe and there was no motion of the pulse, nor move in the jugular vein and by a gentle shake which I gave the child, I then said with my wife, ‘she is dead,’ but be still and I will lay hands on her and see what the Lord will do for us according to the order of God’s house. I laid my hands on her and in the name of Jesus commanded her to rise and come to herself, but no movement whatever. I had faith still in the ordinance, and I knew that faith like mine must prevail; consequently, I laid hands on her again in the name of the Lord Jesus and the spirit of the child returned and she gasped a few times, then she returned to her natural color and was in appearance one of the most lovely little girls that I ever saw for the measles were rebuked from her system too. We thanked God for such power, then laid down and slept comfortably till morning. To God be the glory." This incident is recorded in the Millennial Star, Volume II. I have the volume.
On Wednesday, October 18, 1848, an interesting account is recorded of a letter to a minister Rev. Mr. Hand in which he explains and defends the principles of the gospel but, although it is interesting it is lengthy and I will not copy it here.
Grandfather, among other things, was a poet and often several verses are given in the journal. He also wrote and taught shorthand. He states it is the Pitman system; however, methods must have changed because, although it is written beautifully, it is much different than Pitman is written today and is difficult to read.
He speaks of visits from Orson Hyde, P.P. Pratt, John Taylor, and others; feels blessed to have them in his home.
Sunday, October 14, 1849, attended his branch meetings, talked about faithfulness to the true principles and advised all to hold fast, to overcome temptation and do their part in the progress of the church. He was leaving them soon with his family; he would go to America. He was sad at leaving them but it is something he has hoped and prayed for for some time. At this meeting he resigned his position as clerk of the Sheffield Conference and as Branch President. He held this position from February 17, 1845, to October 30, 1849.
I wish Grandfather had written more of the details about the preparation for the trip. It would have been interesting, but all he records is, "Saturday, October 27, 1849, made ready to go to Liverpool to sail for America on the first of November. I have written for my family to come to see us off for America, we will never see each other again."
The family left Sheffield Tuesday, October 30, for Liverpool by railway. Many saints and friends were there to bid them goodbye. At the Liverpool station, he was disappointed at not seeing his family. A sadness overcame him; however, President Dunn met him and assisted him in finding a comfortable place for the family to sleep. Next day they received their clearance to enter the sailing vessel Zetland and sail for America. It was rather crowded, but they were thankful for the occasion. Because of weather conditions, the vessel could not leave for six days, then at 3 o’clock they left "Handy Dock" and sailed into the river. Members were chosen in groups with a leader over each group. Elder Hawkins was chosen as President over the entire group with Grandfather as first assistant. A group of Irish men caused occasional roughness and disturbance.
It was Saturday, November 10, 1849, that anchor was set and the steamer tugged them for fourteen miles into the open waters and they were finally on their way to New Orleans. Only a few hours after, several were seasick, himself included.
Each day he reports conditions and activities giving distance traveled, longitude and latitude of the vessel. The route could be traced from his notations.
Each day, morning services were held opening and closing with prayers and singing. He makes record of ships or vessels large or small that passes them; also reports seeing different types of fish. One day a whale followed the boat for some time. There were also flying fish, porpoises, and many others.
A marriage was performed on the boat. Thomas Maycock and Selina R. Peaton were married by President Hawkins. This was the first marriage he had ever witnessed by the authority of heaven. This day they were 120 miles off the Medeira Island. It was not visible, buthe had studied about this island and he describes the people and activities.
Grandfather shows his culture by the books he reads and the books he brought with him such as History of Russian War, World History, Works of John Milton, and many others. He spent this day studying and reading Civil Engineering. He also had studied astrology and each night, both on the ocean and plains, a group would gather around him to hear about the stars, moon, and the heavens.
An item noteworthy: "Monday, December 3, 1849 – Spent part of the day reading Dr. Kalton’s work The People of Persia. Also saw a small vessel pass heading for California called ‘Sam & Ben.’ Our captain spoke to their captain." This boat was in the route traveled by some in reaching San Francisco which went around the Cape of Good Hope [sic; actually Cape Horn—Cape of Good Hope is in Africa. DL] at the tip of South America requiring over four months en route. Now the trip is made in a few hours. I am reminded of the trip sponsored by Sam Brennan, an convert, who took a shipload of saints from New York to San Francisco in 1846 over this route. An interesting story and an interesting bit of history. If you are not familiar with this incident, I advise you to read it. The vessel was called ‘Brooklyn.’
On Wednesday the 12th, 1849, they came in sight of St. Domingo Island and came near to the Rock Alto Vela Beta. He describes it as being very high with no vegetation on it. No life of any sort except large birds. They also see the Jamaican Islands. Grandfather here displays his artistic talent; also his love of the beauties of nature. In the journal he sketches the rock; also the Island of Jamaica and the Dominican Island which he records were discovered by Columbus in 1492. The sketches show a mountainous country with three levels of mountains with trees. On the lower level, there were green fields which remind him of England. Also plantations of vast gardens with "..some small white houses with green doors and shutters. We could see movable objects but could not perceive what they were. That part which we were nearest to was very pleasing to the eye. The larger mountain in the distance whose tops were now and again encircled in clouds gave in imposing effect to the whole view. Smoke ascended now and then from a chimney which told us there must be a house or sugar refinery, at least there must be a cause before there can be an effect."
"December 14, 1849 – A death on board. Elder Liggetts’ son passed away. His body was cast overboard. I saw his body sink in the water at north latitude 18"20 west longitude 66"20."
A small boat with its white sails was coasting along then presently it was wafted beautifully on the smooth surface of the Caribbean Sea, probably taking a trip to a neighboring island or otherwise a view of the splendid ship Zetland. But little did they know what her cargo is or where bound.
On December 18, they were in the Gulf of Mexico, not too long before they reached the sand bar which was the dread of all vessels. The committee members passed resolutions thanking first Captain Brown (captain of the Zetland) then in turn all who had served the passengers and made conditions pleasant for them and last a vote of thanks to Hezekiah Mitchell for him acting as clerk of the trip on the ship Zetland.
An interesting but a sad note followed, "Move that a contribution be taken up for John Martin to furnish him with a pair of trousers, etc. A clear vote."
On the 20th of December, the vessel struck the sand bar and was lodged there for three days necessitating larger ships to release it. They continued up the river to New Orleans. The bar is at the mouth of the Mississippi River. The plantations along the river were beautiful. Grandfather describes the ‘Black Sons of Canaan’ as not being overworked. Isn’t that characteristic of the Negro people.
The vessel arrived in New Orleans December 24. All deck hands were given a holiday, but all were anxious to get their luggage transferred to ‘Ben West’ the river boat—a very miserable boat for passengers, very crowded and uncomfortable.
At this point, Grandfather complains of feeling miserable, which continued the entire river trip. He was unable to keep his journal, was weak and compelled to stay in his berth. A child died on the river and was buried in the side of the river bed. Mississippi River traveling was very dangerous—loose logs on the river and fallen trees are a menace to the water paddles of the boat. He offers a prayer for the safety of the saints that follow.
The part arrived at St. Louis Friday, January 11, 1850. Grandfather fainted as he was trying to leave the boat. He was carried from the boat and was believed to be dead. Several had suffered with cholera, and we have reason to believe this was his trouble. When the family arrived in St. Louis he had 35 cents in his pocket. From his journal I quote:
"Members of the church have attended to my temporal wants as far as they could for which I am truly thankful, then they laid my case before the Ladies of the Benevolent Society. They have done much for me and my family in administering to our wants. They have paid the expenses of a doctor, wood for fire, sugar, tea, some bedding, clothing and other necessary things and with all recommending us to the City Hotel where we should have vitals for a time, that is till I might get employment, and also taking a great interest in finding our Frederick work in etching. God bless them all."
He continued to feel miserable for some time. In spite of ailing, he attended church when possible, attending to his duties. Being administered to often seemed to give him a spiritual uplift. It is said that Grandfather never fully recovered from this illness.
In August in St. Louis, he makes note of "…opened up a school today." This is the only mention of the school and I have heard no mention of it from Mother. He probably tried to make a living at his profession.
Daughter Lavinia left to go up the Missouri River with Mrs. Barnard to work. Grandfather feels upset about her leaving the family and offers a sincere prayer for her safety and prays earnestly that the people will protect her as their own that she will return to them unharmed. I think she would be only 12 years of age, but I suppose financial aid was necessary.
In his journal dated October 7, 1850, he writes, "This day 18 years ago I married my dear wife Sarah. Time flies away and waits for none." This sets the marriage date as October 7, 1832.
As soon as possible after arriving in St. Louis, Grandfather opened a small store, Grandmother assisting with her sewing. Uncle Fred was employed by McClelland & Scruggs Company as a bookkeeper. All did their share in helping the family get along.
"Monday the 17th, 1851 – Jenny Lend, the singer, arrived in St. Louis. Thankful to be this far on the way to the valley of the mountains."
On Monday, March 31, 1851, a female child was born to Hezekiah and Sarah Mitchell named Sarah Ann.
May 15, 1851, he ordained his son Frederick A. H. F. Mitchell a deacon.
Grandfather’s health is still bad. He feels discouragement and feels that Satan is trying to destroy his being, but prays earnestly that he will be preserved and blessed.
Friday, October 3, 1851, the family moved to a farm in Jersey County, Illinois, to obtain means to travel to the mountains. Still not well; has chills and fever. He traded for a yoke of oxen about 8 or 9 miles from this place but one of them died which was a great loss to him.
When the family moved to Illinois, Frederick, the only son, remained in St. Louis. It was advisable because with his good position he could help the family financially.
Quoting from his journal: "On the 3 February 1852, went tot he mill with one ox in the wagon, about 4 miles, exceedingly bad road through the woods. In crossing Otter Creek the third time my wagon was turned on one side and the box burned upside down and my wife under it in the mud. She was not hurt in the least not even her bonnet crushed. I jumped out into the mud on the edge of the water, lifted the box up and set my wife at liberty and told her to get out of the way. Poor Turk was almost throttled in the water with the wagon being on one side. I set the wagon right, go on the ox’s back to liberate him but could not, consequently had to jump off his back into the water, then with difficulty I got him out. Thank God for his care over us that we were not hurt. To Him be the glory.
He speaks of tapping maple trees to make sugar. One point in going to Jersey County, Illinois, was to prepare for the trip west. This is near the wooded country and Grandfather intended to make the wagon to carry his family west.
Saturday, February 2, 1852, he writes: "Prepared some parts for a new wagon, a very strong desire to go to California." (All western territory was considered to be California.) "Oh! Lord open up my way for me and family. Oh!! How I long to be there and be instructed in the truth."
He engaged in any work to further his plans to join the saints in Zion as you can see: "Saturday, February 14, 1852 – Split a number of rails. Whatever I do the uppermost thought is on the work of God and the valley of the mountains and my increasing desire to go there. Oh! Lord open my way before me. Thought on the science of astronomy; how beautiful are the order of the heavens, have a great desire to increase my study in the same, read a considerable portion of the work on that subject."
"February 19, 1852 – Committed to memory a number of words pertaining to astronomy connected with the twelve signs of the Zodiac."
"February 20, 1852 – Engaged to make about two thousand rails for Mr. Noble at 80 cents per hundred. He advanced me two dollars for present use. Had the subjects of natural philosophy and astronomy in mind. How wonderful are the works of God."
A few days following, he split rails, 100 each day. Imagine, his daily work would net him 80 cents. One day he says he cut the wood and split 26 rails. What a pity it was for a man with his education, also broken in health, to have to resort to such hard labor to support his family.
He bought another ox for $17. Now he has two and traveling will be easier. Within the next few days he bought a cow and calf for $11.
While in this county, it was necessary to call his family together in meetings and administer the sacrament, sing hymns, and have prayers. He was very grateful to the neighbors who were not members of the church but who had charity and kindness in their hearts and who recognized their situation and need and brought them food such as bacon, vegetables, beef, corn and many other necessities that filled their needs.
This is an interesting item. Grandfather gave this recipe: "Recipe for making cistern cement – ashes two parts, three parts of clay, one part sand, mixed with oil, will make a cement as hard as marble and inpenetrable (sic) by water forever." (I would like to try it sometime.)
The spring was beautiful in Illinois and it was time to plant for the future. While tilling and planting, Grandfather always offers a prayer that the crops will be a success and will aid them in preparation for the trip west to join the saints and help build the temple.
One day while he was on his way to split a few rails, he heard a rattlesnake, measured more than three feet, got a stick and killed it. Then he took it home to show his family because its markings were so beautiful. (Now I know where I get some of my ideas and foolishness from. We can see beauty in most of nature’s workings.)
The next few weeks recorded work in the field, reading very good books, working for the interest of his family, and praying for departure in the spring to join the saints and go west.
He worked often on his wagon but makes no mention of it, just like it was an unimportant job. But to me it is mighty important. Mother spoke a lot about it. She watched the wagon ‘grow.’ She told about going with her father to cut the wood for the wagon, watch him season the wood, and remembers how he would turn the wood regularly to the heat so it would season evenly and how she stood on the wheel rims while he set the metal tires. She watched every move he made in constructing the wagon. To her it was a wonder. I think it was too. Grandfather brought parts to repair the wagon on the journey west, but used them all to repair other wagons.
"Monday, January 3, 1853 – Talked to my family about the possibility of trying if we could get to California next spring. If we can get three yoke of cattle and two cows and my wagon finished, we think we may try to get a start. Read President Fillmore’s message to Congress. Was pleased with it. He is a very fine man. Also read an interesting tract to my family, the subject "The Gold Makers Village" from the German of Hunruch Zschokke. Bought a little male hog today for 2 ½ dollars. A high price."
"August skies displayed a beautiful comet." It is seen for several nights and he describes the difference in its appearance and length of tail as the time passes. In September, he sees the Northern Lights and takes the family out to watch them, describing the cause and effects. Comments on their beauty.
For days the family cut and dried peaches that they might enjoy them later. "Spent evening reading Hadley’s "Life of Napoleon Bonaparte and his Marshels."
He must have given private schooling to several. Often he records, "Heard Mr. Morgan or others in their lessons." He has made converts of a few who live in this farming area. Many many pages are devoted to daily activities as I have mentioned, but I will not take the time to account them all.
An interesting drawing is made in the journal which illustrates his art and knowledge of mechanical art. He draws a perfect and accurate picture of a locomotive steam whistle. What makes it whistle is shown by parts being numbered and described in detail.
Now we read between the lines and feel preparations are being made to leave. "Put wagon together, tried it out. Everything seems okay. Took parts apart and painted them…. Traded with J. Samson for a sorrel mare, let him have one steer, my old wagon and gavehim $10.00…. Traded my old yokeof cattle with Dr. Parry for a gray mare…. Bought a harness, Dr. Parry loaned me $4.25…. Returned home with my wagon and horses."
And so on Tuesday, May 23, 1854, they left Jersey County for Utah, first to join the company in Missouri. Uncle Fred had given up his work in St. Louis and joined the family in Jersey County to come west with them. They hadn’t traveled five miles before trouble started—another test of their faith. They were caught in a gully in the mud. The horses balked and the cows got stuck in the mud. They had to stand in the mud all night in a heavy rain. Soon a man passed with a team who helped them out. He went to see a Mr. Watson to see if he would trade for cattle. "He wanted my new wagon, horses, and harness for two yoke of his cattle and his old wagon, very unreasonable…. Traded my sorrel pony for one yoke of cattle…. Traded our gray mare for a yoke of cattle with a man living near Carr place…. We rejoiced at our prosperity," but Satan his certainly tried to hinder their progress.
Trouble continued. They broke the wagon tongue and had to stop and repair it. It rained constantly and they were all soaked. The roads were bad and traveling was slow. The young yoke of cattle were showing signs of fatigue. He tried to trade but was not successful. In spite of all this, they continued on overcoming every possible obstacle. Each evening, they always looked for a comfortable place for the cattle where there was good food and water. They stopped and purchased new supplies at each town. Grandfather tells of crossing the rivers and comments on the bad condition of bridges that need to be repaired. One new bridge was built in a poor manner; it should be torn down and be rebuilt properly. He tells just the proper way of building it so it would be safe.
From the mention of towns or cities they pass through or near, I have traced the trip on the map.
It was necessary to ford small streams and ferry over the larger ones. When they neared Brunswick, which is located on the Missouri River, they were stopped by a man who told them there was an epidemic of cholera there and wished to warn them. They said they would take a chance. They came to the ferry on the Grand River and crossed over into Carroll County and camped on the banks of the Grand River. They laid down and watched the heavens which were beautiful to behold, went to sleep and woke up and found it had rained a good bit and that the yoke of cows had strayed off. Grandfather and son Fred dressed hurriedly and searched for cattle, found them and returned at daybreak in time to have breakfast and start again on their journey. It was about 3 p.m. Thursday, June 22, that they arrived in Richmond after crossing more bridges that creaked as they crossed and Grandfather said "His heart was sick with fear."
The family continued on until June 23, 1854, when Grandfather ends his journal for that book. There were more pages in the book, but he just stopped writing. I’m sorry. I would like to have followed them until they meet the saints. His journal is not picked up until after they are in the Valley. What a pity to lose this wonderful detailed description of the trip. However, Uncle Fred kept a journal in a very small notebook. It is written in pencil and is hard to read. It was started the day they left Jersey County, Illinois, on the trip west. I will continue from his journal.
"On 25th June, passed through Liberty, Clay County, Missouri. Saddened by the fact that it was here the leaders of the church had been persecuted and suffered. We journeyed on toward Platte City and crossed Platte River."
They are always concerned about the welfare of the cattle in finding good food for them. They crossed the Missouri River on the ferry at 1 o’clock p.m. After crossing, they met Brother Farr and several of the brethren, after which they traveled about four miles to Williams Camp. Here they met the saints and rejoiced they were on time.
Later, they met a company of Swedish and English saints. They also met Orson Pratt who was on his way to the Valley, which was thrilling, and Brother Fielding whom he had known in England. That, too, was a wonderful experience. Their wagon was placed next to Grandfather’s. They spent the evening together rejoicing.
Interferences continued. On July 3, 1854, they prepared to start about 8 a.m., but one of the cattle refused to be yoked. It was 11 a.m. before they got on their way. Then all went well. The Kansas Camp started a few hours before them; hence they were ahead. They traveled until sundown. By the order of Brother Orson Pratt, two yoke of cattle were there to help them over.
"Tuesday, July 4, 1854 – This morning all the camp was awakened to gather around the Liberty pole on which was hoisted the glorious Stars and Stripes. A couple of guns were fired over it. Our Captain Brown delivered a brief but very appropriate speech and solicited volunteers with tame cattle to go [to] the last camping place for the wagons which were left there. Those that had teams went willingly. I spent the day doing odd jobs to help those here."
On Wednesday, July 18, 1854, Uncle Fred was appointed clerk and historian of the company. He proceeded immediately to taking the names of the company; also a record of a death. Each male member was appointed to take turn to stand guard of the cattle and horses during the nights and resting period on the entire trip.
Some of the wagon tongues were showing signs of wear, so Grandfather and Frederick spent one day making new tongues in case of trouble.
An interesting item is recorded: "After preparing to travel one morning it was discovered that several yokes of cattle were missing. Several looked for them but unsuccessful. They traveled on, then suddenly Captain Russell rode up quickly, said that seven Indians had been seen with our cattle by Charles A. Lanson who approached the Indians and made it known he wanted the cattle, but the Indians presented guns and they were compelled to leave. Brother Pratt was ahead but retreated and all men who had arms were requested to go in search of the cattle." The number who volunteered was 30 including Uncle Fred. After searching for three hours they were forced to return. They found from tracks that the Indians had separated in four different directions. They company journeyed ahead without the cows.
While resting, Uncle Fred climbed to the top of a hill, stopped to admire the beauty, and in his artistic way made a sketch of the area.
On one occasion, they were nearing a creek; the road was bad. All men with axes and shovels prepared the road. It was rough and narrow over the creek, not wide enough to take these heavy wagons. Logs were cut and placed on one side, brush and dirt were put between them. This made a safe road for all future wagons to cross. Saw two graves in the area of the repair work. One was hardly covered and the odor was terrible. Soon after they started traveling again, an oxen on Mr. Friel’s team dropped dead. No warning symptoms were seen to prepare them for the death.
On Tuesday, July 14, 1854, a council meeting was held and it was decided to let the family wagons go ahead of the freight wagons which travel slower. The family wagons are those whose owners travel in their own wagons; the freight wagons are those who carry paid passengers and extra freight. This is the 19th birthday of Frederick Mitchell. This day the wagons moved ahead numbering 41. Provisions were getting low, which was the reason for the family wagons to move and not travel as an entire company.
When about to cross the Big Blue Creek, they were advised that all wagons should travel fast and not to stop in the middle because of quicksand. All crossed safely, but at times it was necessary to hitch extra horses to wagons. The creek is 18 or 20 inches deep. After they camped for the night, two men who said they were from the store came to hang around us. Captain Brown politely told them they were not welcome and to please move on, but extra guards were appointed to guard the cattle and camp that night. The cattle and horses seemed troublesome all night.
July 19, 1854, Captain Brown had heard that Brother Fields’ Company had been robbed of provisions and clothing. They had none to spare so were advised by Captain Brown to travel fast and the men should travel with gun and whip in hand. This seemed rather a novel situation for a young man. At one time they could see something approaching them but when they came face to face with it, it turned out to be a pack of mules from California.
About eight miles from Cotton Creek, they were overtaken by a company of saints from Kansas. They camped across the creek from this company. They were not very clean but seemed healthy. Captain Brown adopted them, but gave them rules and regulations to follow and warned them to obey.
"About 11 p.m. this date, I was asked by Captain Brown to witness a wedding and record same. George Chandler and Hellen Matilda Bozer were married." This same day, there was a birth in camp. A son was born to Sister Stiles in a drenching hard rain.
"Sunday, July 23, Sister Stephens gave birth to a child."
They crossed the Platte River, camped on its banks and traveled to Kerney. After they were on the road again, they saw several buffalo. They had difficulty in killing two, which were divided among the company. Grandmother salted part of theirs down for future use. Mother tells of Grandmother’s cooking and how she made many tasty things that others did not bother with. Of course, they milked the cows and made butter, which was delicious.
Mother told the story of an experience with the Indians. "At one point, the wagons were told to travel fast. To make the wagons lighter, the older members of the family were to walk by the side of the wagon. I, being only 8 years of age, was to stay in the wagon with Mother and Sarah. I thought I was as big as anyone and capable of walking. I quietly slid to the end of the wagon unnoticed. Just when I was on the end of the wagon an Indian appeared out of the brush and placed his hands on my waist and was carefully edging me out of the wagon. I was so frightened I couldn’t speak of make a sound. Priscilla’s shoe came untied and she lagged behind to tie it. As she raised she saw the situation. In another few seconds I would have been missing. She screamed to Father who cracked the whip high over his head. The Indian did not release me. Again he cracked the whip near his head showing the Indian he was serious. At that he let me go, and I certainly was glad to climb to the front of the wagon and stay there."
They passed nine wagons heading for the States filled with apostate followers of Gledden Bishop. They had very little to say to them.
One of the oxen on Grandfather’s team was lame suffering from Hollow Horn (whatever that is). Our wagon lagged behind. Sister Warberton also stayed behind. One of her cows was calving. By permission of Captain Brown, they hitched her sister cow to the place of our lame one and traveled on to the end of the day.
From Uncle’s journal I quote, "Thursday, August 3, 1854 – Stood guard from 2-4 o’clock, got on the road 28 minutes before 7 o’clock. Traveled well until noon. Our steer gave out in the afternoon, he had traveled as far as his strength would let him. We untied him from behind the wagon and I stayed with him until 8 o’clock. In the meantime, I went off the road a piece toward the river and cut him some grass which he ate. While I was with him the Danish Company passed me. They have 60 wagons and 500 persons all in good health. After they had gone by, I managed with great difficulty to drive him about a mile which brought me to the Danish Camp and finding him not able to go any farther I had to leave him. I was then about 4 miles from our camp. I met father coming to meet me. The night was very pleasant and favored with the light of the moon. We traveled 18 miles today. Grass here was not of the best but some good cold spring water. I got in camp at 9 o’clock p.m."
Next day, they traveled until six o’clock. They met E.T. Benson and Ira Eldredge coming from the Valley to relieve Brother Pratt and H.T. Eldredge, Elder E. Snow to St. Louis, Orson Spencer to Cincinnati, H. Linit to England, Doctor Rust and son with the U.S. mail all in fine spirits. After supper, O. Spencer and E.T. Benson preached to the saints touching on different subjects of the gospel. All felt very much edified.
They crossed the south fork of the Platt River. It is one half mile wide and two feet deep including six inches of sand. All wagons crossed safely, but it was very heavy hauling. They camped in the area after crossing. I remember hearing Mother telling of this incident and how frightened she was. She was 8 years old.
Next day, Uncle Fred tells of picking three quarts of choke cherries and Grandmother made jam. It was delicious. Later that day, Brother Fielding’s wagon tipped over. What a mess in the road. Uncle helps pick it up, but it was not an easy task.
The trip has been hard and tedious not only for the saints but the animals are showing effects of the strain. This day, two oxen have died in their places on the team.
"Friday, August 11, 1854 – After traveling 16 miles we camped in view of Chimney Rock. Next day we hitched ‘Hornet’ our lead ox alone because Sister Thorp did not like her cow to be worked." After dinner, they were overtaken by Brothers Benson, Eldredge, and Kesler who told them to rest. Brother Benson told them that Brother Eldredge’s camp had stampeded and he had lost 122 head and wanted 5 yoke of their cattle to go and help them. The brethren complied with their request gladly. After hours, they were on their way again and traveled past Chimney Rock. This bluff as described by Uncle Fred is very interesting because of its romantic appearance. They were again overtaken by some of the brethren on their way to the Valley, including Brother O. Pratt, who came to their wagon and spent the evening with them. They were happy to see him.
Uncle Fred’s journal ends here. What a shame. I would like to have followed them into the Valley and heard their reaction. Mother told us they camped the first night on the old 8th Ward square. Mother remembers Grandfather writing in his journal while on the journey to Utah and described the book’s size, shape, and color. He usually wrote after calling the family together for prayer, and often showing them the beauties of the heavens and nature. This journal or book is missing, for which I am sorry. However, I am thankful that Uncle Fred kept his journal which has given us many, many interesting personal experiences, I think very valuable experiences as far as he goes.
Now we continue our story from Grandfather’s journal. The first record is dated "Journal, 1854 – Having arrived in Great Salt Lake City, it was about 10 days before we got into a house, rented one from James Ure. Hauled sand, clay, and did other work for almost a month as much as the cattle could stand it. Then I saw Brother Crosland, came with him to Richville, Tooele County, saw Brother Peter Maughn at E.T. City. Spoke to him about getting 10 acres of land, a city and garden lot. Made some arrangements with him for the same. I am tolerable sick. Saw Brother Gillette and Bro. Bryan, haven’t seen them since I landed in St. Louis in 1850. Returned home in Salt Lake with the government wagons. Stayed in Salt Lake a few days then returned to E.T. bringing my wagon, oxen, and two cows with me to commence to build me a house. The lot was on the east side of E.T. My cattle were too weak to haul logs from the canyon. Bro. Gillette and Bro. Maughn hauled a load for me which cost me $16.00 for same. Built me a house as soon as possible and moved my family here on Saturday, November 25, 1854." (So we have lost three months of valuable history which would have been intensely interesting.)
"In April, planted 10 acres of wheat and corn but grasshoppers ate most of it. Got only 2 ½ bushels from the lot but got 15 bushels of potatoes."
Mother tells how all members fought the grasshoppers from the wheat and corn and also the potato bugs from the potato plants to save the crops in much the same manner as they fought the cricket plague in 1847. We wonder how much more they will be tried, but even then each night and morning prayers were offered, prayers for strength and thanksgiving. On April 15, 1855, Grandfather and Grandmother, Priscilla, Maria and Elizabeth were rebaptized by Peter Maughn and confirmed the same day by P. Maughn and Bishop Rowberry. Grandfather was appointed to preside over the lesser priesthood. He was nominated and received as the referee for the Mill Precinct, Tooele County, Utah Territory.
"August 13, 1855, was ordained by President David Pettigrew an High Priest at E.T. City." I remember Mother telling of how Grandfather came home from this meeting. He was overjoyed and threw his hat into the air several times because he had advanced to the highest order in the priesthood.
Was thankful this day because President Brigham Young gave him permission to take another wife.
They have been in the valley 1½ years and son Fred has just been married. At a conference held in Salt Lake, Fred was called to go on a mission to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii). His experiences are very interesting, but that is another story.
Grandfather was appointed as clerk of the E.T. Branch and later was chosen as President of E.T. Branch. In case you may not know, E.T. is located just around the point of the mountain southwest of Garfield. Richville is located between this point and Grantsville. E.T. is named after Ezra T. Benson. These places were small farming branches and each was presided over by a Branch President. Tooele Stake was not organized until 1866.
These days represented hard trying times. In May, 1856, Grandfather signed to the Bishop five acres of his land valued at $9 per acre for his tithing. He made frequent trips to the canyon for wood which he used for the family and selling whenever possible. He often drove to Salt Lake or Ogden selling his wood for as low as $3. Sometimes it was necessary to trade it for small items. It was a two days journey each way from E.T. to Salt Lake in a wagon driven by cows and oxen. It was almost impossible for him to support his family on the ground he had.
Grandfather was handy and could do almost anything he tried; consequently, he was in demand in the county to do many odd jobs but with very little pay. He journeyed to Ogden in July to see if he could get some harvesting done but was unsuccessful. He went with Bro. Friel to see if he could locate a piece of ground that was available. He located one that was desirable but found it was spoken for, settled on another one and put some stakes around it and made a claim on it. He worked for Brother Brown at labor for three days and was paid three bushels of wheat for pay. While in Ogden July 24, he witnessed the 24th of July celebration—parades, speeches, bands, dinner, dancing and singing. He goes into detail describing it. It is a wonderful experience for him. Returning home one day he picked ½ bushels of service berries in the canyon. His wife made jam which helped the food situation.
On some occasions, the family was given permission to go to the neighboring fields and glean the wheat. He started to cut his own wheat but muchof it had been destroyed by grasshoppers.
Often he was compelled to stay in Salt Lake and Ogden for three weeks exchanging his grain for "food stuff," also doing odd jobs to buy a few necessities. Of course, children and Grandmother were left at home. At times the family diet was reduced to pigweed and milkweed greens. My mother was helping a woman in her home for 50 cents a week and was allowed one biscuit each day for her lunch. The youngest sister Sarah was sick because of lack of proper food. Each day my mother would put her biscuit in her pocket and after lunch dishes were done would run home with the precious food for the sick sister. Aunt Sarah said because of this that Elizabeth saved her life. One day the lady noticed what Mother did and the next day she was refused a biscuit. That night, she cried herself to sleep and dreamed that she was at the door the next morning and saw her father coming along the road driving the wagon and it was piled high with sacks of the precious foodstuffs. When she left the house the next morning, she saw her father coming just as she had seen him in her dream. She ran to meet him, told him of her experience with the woman and also her dream. He told her she should never go to that house again and she never did. He had been away three weeks. Yes, there were trying times.
Grandfather traded his good strong wagon and bows he had made for 8 acres of standing corn, 1 ½ acres of squash and melons and about 4 acres of wheat. So immediately he had to start to assemble parts for another wagon. He exchanged work for some unused wheels and other odds and ends and with lumber and wood started to make himself another wagon, which was necessary to make the necessary trips to Salt Lake with his grain.
Grandfather, being the handy man, was always on hand to help others with odd jobs. He helped Brother Maughn prepare to move to Cache county. He quotes, "Assisted him until he rolled out and was on his way, received as pay for the work 1 ½ bushels of barley, 40 lbs of flour, 26 lbs of short irons for a wagon, half a bushel of wheat, and a quantity of old iron to use for my wagon."
He found it necessary to build another room on the house. They received a letter from Captain James Brown from Ogden that he had married his daughter Lavinia on September 7, 1856.
Took his gun and shot at the crows in his corn. This was a busy time of year. Besides harvesting crops, he was preparing for winter, and working hard to complete his new room.
The hand-cart companies were reported coming into Salt Lake and on one of Grandfather’s trips to the city he visited with and spent the night with Brother and Sister Richards who introduced him to a Miss Elizabeth Bowers and Sister Richards who introduced him to a Miss Elizabeth Bowers. Brother Richards suggested that Grandfather marry this girl. Grandfather suggested this to her but she didn’t give an answer. Upon returning home to E.T., he talked the situation over with Grandmother who rebels at first as any natural wife would do, but later she agrees because they felt it was one of the commandments of the gospel. So on Tuesday, December 30, 1856, Grandfather and Grandmother made a trip to Salt Lake again to deliver some goods to saints and after doing so went to Brother Richards to again meet Elizabeth Bowers. To make a long story short, they were sealed by Brigham Young and on January 2, 1857, all three started for their home in E.T. They traveled in a heavy snowstorm and were compelled to stop at the point of the mountain for the night.
Brother Erasus Christensen and daughter Priscilla were married by Bishop John Rowberry January 28, 1857.
Every few days it was necessary for him to go to the canyon or mountains for wood. He tells on one occasion when he went to the mountains to get fire wood how he climbed to the top of the mountain and admired and described in detail the beautiful view he sees—the beautiful Great Salt Lake, the lovely Tooele Valley. With Grandfather’s artistic temperament, he always sees the beauty of most any situation.
This journal ends March 29, 1857, and I have nothing in the way of a journal until March 29, 1863, except a few incidents I remember Mother telling which I will recall.
When Johnson’s army was coming to Utah and were to march through Salt Lake and Tooele Valley on the way to the camp, Brigham Young told all to leave their home and march south. Grandfather moved his family to Lehi where they stayed until the danger was over, then they returned. I believe they were away about 4 months. Grandfather had planted potatoes before he left and upon his return found them almost ready to harvest.
Times were hard at E.T. and getting worse. People were moving away and none were replacing them. Grandfather thought he would make a better living where the land was better and in a place that was more heavily populated. In that way he could pick up more odd jobs to help with necessities. I mentioned before that he had filed on a piece of ground in Ogden so he moved his families from E.T. My mother tells of the move. She remembered well. There was not room for all to ride and Mother says she and Sarah drove a few sheep most of the way.
I imagine from the way the journal reads that the second wife was left in Salt Lake where he provided living quarters for her, taking Grandmother and family, which consisted of the two younger daughters, on to Ogden and established a home for them there. Another small journal tells of attending conference of the church April 6, 1863, and enjoying the spirit of the gospel in all sessions. Then in Ogden in May, he blesses his two grandchildren, children of Priscilla. Then on Wednesday, July 8, 1863, he tells of blessing his son Hezekiah, second son of his second wife Elizabeth Bowers. There is no mention at this time of the birth of his oldest son Henry by this wife. He helped his son Fred paint his store and did many other odd jobs working not only for his son but for other people and then again working in his son Fred’s store permanently.
How observing and cultured he was and what a pity with his talents and education he could not have engaged in something that would not have been so hard on his health, because he was never strong after landing in St. Louis.
He reads such wonderful literature and makes not of interesting items he reads in the paper. He makes note that Mt. Etna is erupting and describes at length on the details of the volcano. Under date of April 2, 1867, read Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Italian to his daughter Sarah Ann and explains what prompted his studying these languages at some time in his life, mostly while he is in England. He reads and makes comments on Maximillian and gives rather an interesting bet of history concerning his life. Many other bits of history are given all through his journal proving conclusively he was a great reader of good books.
A note worthy of copying is as follows: "Friday, December 18, 1863, the House Committee on Territories will soon report bills to bring Nebraska, Utah and Colorado as states also to create a new territory out of some portions of Nebraska…"
"Durability of Timber – The piles sustaining the London Bridge have been driven 500 years. In 1845, they were critically examined and found to have decayed but slightly. These piles are principally of Elm. Old Savory Place in the city of London is sustained on piles driven 650 years ago, they consist of Oak, Elm, Beech and Chessnut and are perfectly sound. The bridge built by the Emperor Trojan over the Danube built 1600 years ago recently had one of its piles taken up which was found to be petrified three-quarters of an inch deep and the rest had undergone no change." (I recopy this that all of you might appreciate his interest in world incidents.)
He comments on the wagons parading up Main Street loaded with rock to build the temple and then returning immediately for another load. The work is progressing rapidly.
Two of Oliver Cowdery’s sisters are in Salt Lake. One of them seems to be interested in Mormonism, the other does not. They will go on to California.
March 30, 1864, his second wife gives birth to another son which Grandfather blesses and names Heber.
On April 6, 1864, Grandfather was given permission to have two women sealed to him, namely Sarah White and Sarah Rangely who were dead. The first wife Sarah stood for them with President Heber C. Kimball officiating. Brother Wilford Woodruff and W.W. Phelps were witnesses.
Late in 1867, he moved his family from Ogden and settled in the 11th Ward in Salt Lake. They later moved to the 1st Ward. He was the Bishop’s Counselor in this ward and he operated a store while living there.
March 19, 1867, the second wife gives birth to a daughter, Margaret Selma. Grandmother was midwife and tended to all of her children.
There is no journal found with items of the life of Hezekiah Mitchell between March 1868 and January 1, 1870. On this date he writes, "Attended the School of the Prophets in the old Tabernacle. Good instructions given on various subjects pertaining to the kingdom of God."
"Wednesday, January 12, 1870 – Attended the Utah Central Railroad Celebration Ball held in the theatre. A very agreeable party. Everything went off well, peace and harmony prevailed throughout. Many prominent persons attended. It is an important event of our history in these mountains, to commence and complete a railroad of some forty miles without any government aid. No other state or territory in the Union has accomplished as much under such circumstances as we have. God is with his people and his blessing is upon them." (This refers to the railroad between Ogden and Salt Lake.)
The committees of which he was a member are listed in the journal. This journal does not give us much of Grandfather’s personal life, but records minutes of all General Conferences held in the Tabernacle. I do not know if he was appointed clerk of the conference or if he did it of his own choice, but each sermon is written in detail. Also a full account of political and government issues is written. I will not include it here, but it is beautifully written and is a credit to anyone. I am glad I have had the privilege of reading it.
"Sunday, September 4, 1870 – At a meeting held in the Tabernacle, Mr. Martin Harris was introduced by President G.A. Smith. He testified to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and told of some of his experiences and bore strong testimony."
"Friday, September 30, 170 – Attended High Priest meeting. It was moved by me that Martin Harris have his name recorded on the quorum record – was a clear vote. He bore a strong testimony to the Book of Mormon at this meeting."
As I have mentioned before, his health was broken at the time of the cholera or malaria fever he suffered in St. Louis. Every entry states, "Not well today, sick in my intestines and bowels," and yet he continues to accept calls to work in the church. I marvel at his fortitude. Every week he walked to the Tabernacle and home from about 7th East and 5th South. Also each day he walked to and from his work on Main Street. He worked for his son Fred. I often think of the great accomplishments he would have made considering his education, talents, and ability if his health had not broken.
"Tuesday, February 14, 1871 – Read newspapers today after which I looked over my Italian and Greek grammars. Greek appears natural having studied it when young as well as Latin and Hebrew."
In spite of "Very sick today – None better today" he accepts committee appointments to building library and school house in the 1st Ward until his last entry, which was as follows:
"Thursday, September 12, 1872 – Requested Brother Allen to be sure and gather some means together so we could pay our hands on Saturday. It must not be neglected. Not very well today."
Just three days later on September 15, 1872, Hezekiah Mitchell passed away with intestinal disturbances. A faithful life had come to a close.
President David O. McKay on one occasion said this, "Who is the greatest of all men? Is he the engineer who by his intelligence and skill plans and builds the greatest bridge? Is it he who with a brush and canvas and palette of paints can paint a masterpiece of art? Or is it the master machinist who can construct great powerful motors, or the man who can plan and build a dam large enough to hold back and control great bodies of water? No, I say unto you the greatest of all men regardless of wealth or power but by his humility, courage, faith and kindness can touch the soul of one who has been downcast to the state of near destruction can touch that soul and bring him to see the light of truth and teach him and make him believe in God and life eternal and bring joy to that soul. Yes, I say to you he is the greatest of all men."
I feel that Grandfather was such a man. Every day he prayed for wisdom to touch the unfortunate and bring joy to their soul. My mother said she never heard him speak a cross word but once in his life. That was when the last flour the family had was on the stove to bake bread for the family’s lunch. She was supposed to watch it while the parents were performing outside duties and Mother did not obey but busied herself with other things and forgot the bread. It burned black. When he returned, of course he was upset because there was no bread for the meal so he scolded her and gave her a light slap on the shoulder. It broker her heart.
I found this item in Hezekiah Mitchell’s diary, a faith promoting experience.
"Tuesday, 31 August, 1847. Our Priscilla appeared as if she would not live long; I felt it much and was determined to supplicate God my Heavenly Father for her. I did so and He did hear my prayer and bless the ordinance of laying on of hands. To Him be all the glory forever and ever. This has been a trying time but in the midst of all I could rejoice in the principles of truth. She is coming about nicely and will soon be well. Thank God for it."