MARY ELIZABETH ROLLINS LIGHTNER
Who helped rescue the original documents from the mob which later became a part of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner was one of the earliest converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She was born in Lima, Livingston County, New York, April 9, 1818. Her father, John D. Rollins, came from one of the New England states, probably Vermont. Her mother, Keziah Keturah Van Benthuysen, was born in Albany, New York, May 16, 1796. Her father and mother were married in 1814 or 1815. Three children were born to them: James Henry, Mary Elizabeth, and Caroline. When Caroline was six months old, the father, John D. Rollins, was shipwrecked on Lake Ontario during a terrible storm.
When Mary Elizabeth was ten years old, they moved to Kirtland, Ohio, and lived with her Uncle, Algernon Sidney Gilbert, who was the husband of her mother's sister, Elizabeth Van Benthuysen. They soon began hearing about the plates of the Book of Mormon being found by Joseph Smith. Later the news was confirmed by the appearance of Oliver Cowdry, Peter Whitmer, and Ziba Peterson, with the glorious news of the restoration of the Gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith. They bore a powerful testimony of the truth of the great work in which they were engaged which they were commissioned by the Father in Heaven to present to all the world.
In her own words, "Quite a number of the residents of Kirtland were baptized, among them Mother and myself. This was in the month of October, 1830. A branch of the Church was organized and Father Morley was ordained an Elder to preside over it. He owned a large farm and meetings were held at his place. A good spirit and one of harmony prevailed for some time. After Oliver Cowdry left with his brethren for Missouri on their mission to the Lamanites, a wrong spirit crept into our midst and some were led away. About this time John Whitmer came and brought a Book of Mormon. We learned that Father Morley had the book, the only one in that part of the country. There was to be a meeting that night so I went to his house just before the meeting and asked to see the book. When he put it in my hand I felt such a great desire to read it that I could not refrain from asking him to let me take it home and read it. He seemed surprised and said, "My child, I have not read one chapter in it myself, and the brethren will want to see it tonight at the meeting." He saw my disappointment, and I really plead for it so at last he said, "Well, if you will bring this book home early or before breakfast tomorrow morning you may take it, but mind you are careful that no harm may come to it. "If anyone was ever perfectly happy, I was.
"Uncle Sidney Gilbert and Aunt were Methodists. I ran home and said, 'Oh, Uncle, I have the Golden Bible.' There was consternation in our house for awhile when I was severely reprimanded for being so presumptuous as to ask such a favor when Brother Morley had not read it himself. However, we all took turns reading until very late. As soon as it was daylight I was up and learned the first paragraph by heart. When I reached Brother Morley's residence he was just scraping the ashes from their kitchen stove. Very much surprised he said, 'Well, you are early. I guess you did not read much of it.' I showed him how far we had read. He was more surprised and said, 'I don't believe you can tell me a word of it.' I then repeated what I had learned and gave an outline of the history of Nephi. He gazed at me in surprise and said, 'Child, you take this back and finish it. I can wait.' Before I had finished it the Prophet Joseph Smith arrived in Kirtland and moved in part of Newel K. Whitney's house. (Whitney was Uncle Gilbert's partner in the mercantile business.) Brother Whitney brought the Prophet to our house on some business connected with the store. He was introduced to the older ones in the family. I was outside. On looking around, the Prophet saw the Book of Mormon on the shelf, and asked how it came to be there. He said he had sent it to Brother Morley. Uncle explained how his niece had been bold enough to ask for it. The Prophet said, 'Where is your niece?' I was sent for and when I entered the room he looked at me so earnestly I felt afraid and I thought, 'He can read my every thought.' I thought how blue his eyes were. After a moment he came and put his hands on my head and gave me a great blessing, the first I had ever received. Then he made me a present of the book, saying he would give Brother Morley another copy.
He came in time to rebuke the evil spirits and set the Church in order. We all felt that he was a man of God. He spoke with such power and as one having authority. (This book was stolen from our house in later years when my husband and I left everything and rode night and day to Louisville, Kentucky, to keep my husband from having to go as an eye witness against the prophet. As he was not a Mormon the Gentiles wanted him on their side. He loved Joseph so he wanted to get away for awhile, so Joseph gave another with a lock of his hair in it and autographed.)
A few evenings after his visit to our house, Mother and I went over to the Smith house. We wanted to hear more about the Golden Bible. They were not settled yet, but as there were other visitors, when the Prophet saw us he said, 'We might as well have a meeting.' I sat with others on a plank that had been provided, the ends resting on boxes. After prayer and singing, Joseph began talking. Suddenly he stopped and seemed almost transfixed. He was looking ahead and his face outshone the candle which was on a shelf just behind him. I thought I could almost see the cheek bones. He looked as though a searchlight was inside his face. After a short time he looked at us very solemnly and said, 'Brothers and Sisters, do you know who has been in your midst this night?' One of the Smith family said, 'An angel of the Lord.' Joseph did not answer. Martin Harris was sitting at the Prophet's feet on a box. He slid to his knees, clasped his arms around the Prophet's knees and said, 'I know, it was our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.' Joseph put his hand on Martin's head and answered, 'Martin, God revealed that to you. Brothers and Sisters, the Savior has been in your midst. I want you to remember it. He cast a veil over your eyes for you could not endure to look upon Him. You must be fed with milk and not meat. I want you to remember this as if it were the last thing that escaped my lips. He has given you all to me and commanded me to seal you up to everlasting life, that where He is there you may also be, and if you are tempted of Satan say, 'Get Thee Behind me, Satan.' These words and his looks are photographed on my brain. Then he knelt and prayed. I have never heard anything like it since. I felt he was talking to the Lord and the power rested upon us all. The prayer was so long that some of the people got up and rested, then knelt again. This is the only meeting of its kind I have ever heard of."
In the fall of 1831, in company with Bishop Partridge, Father Morley, W. W. Phelps, Cyrus Daniels and their families, Mary and her Mother, her brother, Henry, and sister, Caroline, under the guardianship of Algernon Sidney Gilbert left Kirtland for Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. There was soon quite a settlement of Saints. Her Uncle Gilbert opened a store in Kirtland where they had one for several years before the Gospel came to them.
A two story printing office was erected and all were in a very prosperous condition both temporally and spiritually. Oliver Cowdry, John Whitmer, and Thomas B. Marsh often spoke in tongues while addressing the people on a Sabbath day. Mary Elizabeth wanted to understand what they were saying. She was a very well educated young lady and very faithful in her work as she had studied much under her Uncle, A. S. Gilbert, who was a college bred man. She was extremely bright for her age. She prayed to the Lord to give her the meaning of their words for they spoke with such power it thrilled her young heart. The following are her words. "One evening the brethren came to out house to converse about the revelations that had not yet been printed and few had seen them. They were in large sheets, not folded. They spoke of them with such reverence, as coming from the Lord, and felt to rejoice that they were counted worthy to be the means of publishing them for the benefit of mankind, that while they were talking they were filled with the spirit and spoke in tongues. I was called upon to interpret it. I felt the spirit of it in a minute.
Another time I interpreted one of Oliver Cowdry's sermons. I was then fourteen years old. A stranger was present, an Indian agent. After the meeting he asked about me an said he knew what I said and wanted to know where I learned the language. Another evening after interpreting a sermon Uncle spoke in French to try me, I think. He asked me to interpret it. I did so and he said it was right only that I said Lord where he had said God. On one occasion after interpreting something about the Saints going to be driven there was a great cry raised by the High Council. They wrote the Prophet and said I was talking with an evil spirit. Joseph answered, 'What she has said is true and correct. Interpretations rightly belong to the Priesthood, but you did not ask for it. She did and received it.' I lost the gift after we were driven. I was well acquainted with all those who saw the plates and all who handled them, even those who saw the angel Moroni."
I was a very inquisitive girl and after becoming well acquainted with the Prophet, when around him I asked many questions. We had many conversations together as I was thrown in his company continually. My Uncle Gilbert being in partners with Brother Whitney in the mercantile business, and a good member of the church the authorities came to our house to talk over business and I guess I managed to see the Prophet as much as possible. As I grew older he told me more serious things.
One day after asking about the Golden Bible he told me if I lived thirty years after his death I would see and read things to prove the book true. I said, 'Are you going to die?' He answered, 'I must seal my testimony with my blood, the testimony is of no force until the testator is dead. They say I am a fallen Prophet, but I am more in favor with my God this day than ever before in my life. They little know who I am, and I dare not tell. They will not know who I am until they see my at the bar of God.'
Another time in our talk he mentioned a woman's name who had sinned very much. He said, 'I would like to do something for her so she can be saved.' I said, 'Brother Joseph, how do you know you yourself will be saved?' He replied, "I know I will. I have the oath of God on it and God cannot lie.' He said John the Revelator was caught up to the third heaven, but I know one who was caught up to the seventh heaven and saw and heard things not lawful for me to utter."
About this time there began to be terrible threats against the Mormons. They were too much united to suit the inhabitants of Missouri, and they did not believe in one religion. The Mormons did not believe in slavery so the people were afraid of them, though the Latter Day Saints were counseled to have nothing to do with the slaves but to mind their own affairs. Soon mobs began to collect in the town and set fire to grain and hay stacks in the yard of Bishop Partridge. All were destroyed. Then they began stoning the houses, breaking doors and windows. The following are her words: "One night a great many men got together and stoned our house, part of which was hewed logs, the other part or front was brick. After breaking all the windows they started tearing off the roof on the brick part, amidst awful oaths and yells that were terrible to hear. We were all frightened and stood against the walls between the doors and windows. All at once they stopped and all was quiet. Some of the brethren who were on the way to see if they could help us said they saw an angel resting on each gable end of our house so that must have been the reason.
"Soon after this I saw Bishop Partridge tarred and feathered, also Brother Charles Allan. My sister saw them cover them with tar, then empty a pillow of feathers over them. Oh what a sight. Our hearts ached for them. A friend of mine helped to wash the tar off from Bishop Partridge. She said it came off as easy as dust. A man who had helped put it on said, 'If they can wash it off that easy, I'll use this.' He held up a cat-o-nine tails. Just then it seems a Masonic sign was given and Brother Partridge was left in peace.
"Just before these troubles I went to work for Peter Whitmer who was a tailor by trade. He was crowded with work and Lilburn W. Boggs, who had just been elected Lieutenant Governor, offered him a room in his house as he wanted Peter to make him a suit for his inauguration ceremonies. Peter made the suit and I stitched the collars and face the coat. Mr. Boggs often came in to watch us work. As I was considered a good seamstress he hired me to make his fine ruffled bosom shirts and also to assist his wife in sewing. I worked for them some time during which time they tried to induce me to leave the Church and live with them. They would educate me and do for me as if I were their own daughter. They had one little girl two years old and two sons, the older one near my age, 14 years, but their persuasions were of no avail.
"The mob renewed their work again by tearing down the printing office and driving the family of Brother Phelps out of the lower part of the building, throwing their things into the street. My sister, Caroline, and I were in a corner of the fence, tremblingly watching them and when they brought out a pile of large sheets of paper saying, 'Here are the damned Mormon Commandments' I was determined to have some of them. Sister said she would go too, but she added, 'They will kill us.' While their backs were turned prying out the gable end of the building, we ran and got our arms full and were turning away when some of the mob saw us and called for us to stop, but we ran as fast as we could, with two of them after us. How we ran toward a gap in the fence, through into a large cornfield, laid the papers on the ground, and laid flat over them. The corn was five or six feet tall and very thick. They hunted quite awhile for us, coming very near and making our hearts beat faster, but they finally left. After we satisfied ourselves that they had gone we tried to find our way out, but the corn was so high we could not see where to go. I saw some trees which had been girdled to kill them and by following these we got out and came to an old stable which looked as though it had not been used for some time. Sister Phelps and her children were carrying in brush, piling it in a corner to have to make their beds on. She asked me what I had. I told her. She took them from us which made us very sad. They later had them bound in small books and sent me one which I prized very highly.
I saw the first hay and grain stacks on fire in Bishop Partridge's lot and other property destroyed. Uncle Gilbert's store was broken into and goods thrown on the public square. The families went to the temple block where the bishop and first counselor, John Corrill, lived for mutual protection while the brethren were hiding in the woods, food being carried to them in the night. Some of our brethren were hiding in the woods, or tied to trees and whipped until the blood ran down their bodies. After enduring all manner of grievances we were driven from the country.
While we were camped on the banks of the Missouri River waiting to be ferried over, they found there was not money enough among the men to take all over. A few families would have to be left behind and the fear was that they would be killed. Some of the brethren by the name of Higbee thought they would try to catch some fish. Perhaps the ferryman would take them. They put out their lines in the evening. It rained all night and most of the next day. When they took in their line they found two or three small fish and one catfish that weighed fourteen pounds. On opening it what was their astonishment to find three bright silver half dollars, just the amount needed to pay for taking their teams over the river. This was considered a miracle and caused great rejoicing among us. This was the night the meteors fell. It was like a heavy snow storm, only the flakes were like fire. A sight to behold and it made a lasting impression on me and caused much excitement that night.
At length we settled in Clay County where my mother married Mr. John M. Burk, a widower with two children. His wife had died with the cholera in St. Louis in 1831.
One morning Joseph came while we were eating breakfast of cold mush. It was after we had lost most of our things and we were very poor, but my stepfather liked cold mush so had told mother not to fix anything else. When Joseph came in Mother and I looked at each other and must have shown it for he asked for some, first saying, "Brother Burk, that mush looks good. I like mush!" Of course he was asked to have some. He ate heartily, but we thought he did it to lessen our embarrassment.
I stayed with Uncle Gilbert most of the time until Zion's Camp came up in 1834. Many of the brethren stopped with us, including the Prophet Joseph, his brother Hyrum, and William and Jesse Smith, their cousins, and Luke and Lyman E. Johnson. When the cholera broke out, Uncle Gilbert, who was preparing to go on a mission was among the first to die, then Jesse Smith. There were five who died at Uncle's house and nine at a neighbors by the name of Burgettl. This was in the month of June. The dead were rolled in blankets and buried as the people were so frightened they would do nothing for us. The brethren were bowed down with sorrow for the loss of their friends, but the Lord saw fit to heal most of those who had come up from the camp, and no man died after the Prophet had administered to him. Uncle died on the 29th of June, 1834.
Shortly after this the camp left for their homes in Kirtland. I commenced teaching a few children in reading, spelling, and writing. I did not understand much about grammar. I had commenced its study in Jackson County along with Sabrina Phelps, Oliver Cowdry, John Whitmer and others, but was stopped by the mob. I was well versed in geography and continued teaching with success for two years. On the 11th of August, 1835, I was married to Mr. Adam Lightner of Liberty Co., Missouri, when I was seventeen years old.
Shortly after this our people moved to Far West, Caldwell County, and soon had flourishing town a settlement all around of farms. The brethren persuaded Mr. Lightner to go there and Keep a store, as the Church was not able, most everyone having been stripped of all they had. He went and built a long house for his store leaving me in Liberty until it was completed, after which we moved to Far West. My husband furnished the supplies for the brethren until they could harvest their crops. It was customary among the Missourians to credit the farmers a year. My husband followed the rule; he knew none could pay until they had earned the money. In the meantime, a son was born to us on the 18th of June, 1836, named Miles Henry. In the latter part of 1837 we moved to Wilford about ten miles distance to start another store for my brother, James H. Rollins, to take charge of. Soon rumors began to circulate of trouble so we deemed it best to return to Far West. We left the store in charge of Mr. Slade and most of our household goods, expecting to send for them in a few days. When we did we found all of our provisions gone, our carpets ruined. The mob began to gather in great numbers, threatening our people, driving off their stock and committing depredations too numerous to mention, until our grievances became almost unbearable. The brethren were determined to defend themselves, but as there was little powder in the place they decided, as Mr. Lightner was not a Mormon, to send him to Liberty for a keg, Homer Duncan went with him. They got the keg of powder, bought twenty yards of carpet, rolled it around the keg, and placed it in a barrel of beans. On returning their wagon was searched twice by ten men who thrust bayonets into the barrel but did not touch the powder. If they had, all would have been killed. But other men knew their lives hung on a thread. They arrived home safely to the joy of all.
The men with teams were sent out into the settlements to collect all the provisions they could, with two men armed with guns to guard each wagon. Mr. Lightner and George A. Smith were guards for one wagon. Plenty of provisions were brought in and stored in Sidney Rigdons' and other places. But we soon heard the heart-rending news of a battle between our people and the mob at Crooked River, in which David W. Patten, Patrick O'Banion, and Gideon Carter were killed.
About this time occurred the Haun's Mill massacre where the raging mob killed seventeen men and their bodies were buried in a well. During the Haun's Mill massacre one man was shot several times. He crawled into the brush; the mob followed him. One wanted to kill him; the other wanted to let him suffer as he was dying anyway. But he did not die. He lived to go to the mountains, and lived to a good old age. I knew him and have heard him tell that other incidents connected with that massacre. His name was Charles Jameson. He resided in Minersville, Utah, where I lived after coming to Utah. He told of a boy whose mother dragged him away from the sight of the mob; he was very weak from loss of blood. In despair she prayed to know what to do. A voice told her to take slippery elm bark and bind on the wound. She did as told. The bleeding stopped and the boy recovered. This boy was Warren Smith. One ten year old boy was found hidden in the blacksmith shop and begged to live but one man said, 'Oh no, Mites make lice.' Men not yet dead were pitched into a well.
Oh what a time that was! In the midst of sorrow, news came that the militia and hundreds of the mob were marching to destroy our city and its inhabitants. A part of the bloodthirsty mob camped near the city, placed a cannon in the road, intending to blow up the place. They sent in a flag of truce, demanding an interview with John Clemensen and wife, and Adam Lightner and wife. (John Clemensen was the husband to Mr. Lightner's sister.) We went out to meet them. A number of brethren were there well armed. As we approached, General Clark shook hands with the two men as they were acquaintances and said that Governor Boggs had given him orders for our safe removal before they destroyed the place. After hearing him, I asked my sister-in-law what we should do about it. She replied, 'We will do as you say.' I was surprised at her answer as she was the mother of several children and I had only one. I asked General Clark if he would let all the Mormon women and children go out. He said, 'The Governor's orders were that no one but the two families were to be spared. All were to be destroyed.' I said, 'If that is the case I refuse to go, for where they die I will die. I am a full-blooded Mormon and not ashamed to own it.' He said, 'Oh, you are infatuated, your Prophet will be killed with the rest.' I said, 'If you kill him today God will raise up another tomorrow.' He said, 'But think of your husband and child.' I answered that my husband could go and take the child if he wanted to but I would suffer with the rest.' Just then a man who was kneeling near some brush jumped up. I saw it was Heber C. Kimball. He stepped between the General and myself and said, 'Hold on, General,' then turned to me and said, "Sister Lightner, God Almighty bless you. I thank my God that for a soul that is ready to die for her religion. Not a hair of your head will be harmed for I will wade to my knees in blood in your behalf." "So will I," said Hyrum Smith and others. The General plead with my husband without avail. Strange as it may seem no harm came to us at that time. The next morning the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum were given into the hands of the mob militia.
A few days later my husband's brother came from Lexington for us to go to his home forty miles distant. As we found our people were not to be massacred we concluded to go for a time. Clemensen's family and ourselves took a change of clothes and were ready to start when we heard a posse was hunting for my brother, Henry, who had not been married long. We took him in the back end of the wagon, covered him with a feather bed, his wife sitting near to uncover him for air when none of the mob were near. We passed through Clark's troops of five hundred men, one half on either side of the road. They did not molest us as we feared they would. We had a Negro driver and Mr. Lightner's brother was well known and walked beside the team. My brother would have been killed had they seen him. We reached Lexington in safety but had a hard time in crossing the Missouri River as large cakes of ice would upset the boat. The ferry man said he never came so near going to the bottom. The officers found where my brother Henry was and came for him. They put him in Richmond jail with Joseph, Hyrum and others where they were treated like brutes and threatened to shoot him every day. What their sufferings were are known only to God and themselves.
One day while in this jail, a meal of meat was brought to them. Joseph the Prophet put a piece to his mouth and quickly laid it down saying, 'Don't eat a bit of it. It is not fit to eat.' Whereupon the men who had served it laughed and said, 'We feed the Mormons on their own beef,' meaning human flesh. General Doniphan was disposed to favor the brethren as much as he could. Brother Henry said that only God knew what their sufferings were while confined there.
As my husband was a non-Mormon they were always trying to find some way to work through him, but Adam loved the Prophet and his brother. He was willing to do all he could in their behalf. We knew at this time that he was to be sought to go against the Prophet and that they were looking for him. Someone had put us wise to what was coming, so we decided to go to Louisville, Kentucky, to see my husband's uncle and get away from Adam having to be questioned and pressure brought to bear in any way against Joseph, for one never knew what might be the outcome of those who were not for, if we did not conform to their maneuvers. We took a change of clothing (out goods were in Far West) and rode day and night with a quilt for a wrap. Uncle had moved to Pennsylvania. We rented a house of four rooms for six dollars and gave a gold watch that cost two hundred dollars in New York for the rent. We bought a bedstead and two chairs, a kettle, and skillet, and went to housekeeping. Our money soon gave out and no work to be had. I was refused work because I had no recommendation. At last I told a man of our condition, that we were strangers. He gave me two fine shirts to make and if they suited he would give me all I wanted. He was delighted and did up more to take home. I asked to be paid for the others; he offered me thirty cents for the two. I knew regular price was one dollar for fine shirts so it seemed hard to be offered only fifteen cents a piece. I refused to do more at hat price. Spent the 30 cents for corn meal and molasses on which we lived for several days. I painted some pictures and sold them for a fair price which bought our food.
One day at the wharf, Mr. Lightner met Frances Higbee who said our people were in Illinois at Commerce, my brother in Alton, Illinois. So we sold out and got enough money to get to my brother's The boat we went on was so old we had to stop for days for repairs. I improved the time by giving painting lessons to a lady on board. Got six dollars. At Alton we met a man we had befriended in Far West. He was keeping a boarding house. Having some empty rooms we asked to leave our trunks in one of them. He consented. We walked a mile up hill to brothers. Found two families living with them. Oh, how glad we were to be with friends again, and get a good meal, for we had lived on cornmeal so long that Mr. Lightner and baby were ill. When we went for the trunks next day he charged us our last half dollar for letting them stay in an empty room all night. Baby was very sick, no money to buy medicine, -- finally a doctor's wife gave me something to help him. As soon as they were better I went from house to house and procured a number of students for painting. We went to board with a private family, paying four dollars a week for both. I earned sixty dollars beside paying board. This paid our way to Montrose where mother was living, and where I went to be sick with my second child. We did not find them in Montrose, they had moved to a tract called the Half Breed. Hiring a team, we drove there. They were in a log cabin and received us joyfully. October 18th, daughter Caroline was born. When she was three years old we moved to Farmington. Mother let us have a bed, some dishes and some flour, and other necessities. An Irishman gave us a bushel of potatoes and some squash. Work was scarce all around the country, so we kept moving to try and get steady work.
We commenced housekeeping in two rooms. One room Mr. Lightner used for a shop; as there was no one there who could make furniture the people gladly let him have all the tools and lumber he wanted and took his work for pay. I got work from a tailor and earned clothes for myself and children. We built one large room toward a home expecting to add to it. Mr. Lightner bought a great deal of choice lumber to season for bureaus and chairs. But finding we were in an unhealthy part we sold our house for two hundred cash and went to Montrose to buy mahogany and other articles he could not get at home. We were there just a short time when a steamboat brought news that the bank where we had our money had failed and we got only twenty-five dollars; we were about discouraged, but more was to follow. On looking out one morning there was his kiln, in which he was seasoning his expensive lumber, on fire. Not a plank was saved. Winter coming on and no money to live on made us feel very sad. While trying to plan in some unaccountable way just what to do my step-father, Mr. Burk, came over from Nauvoo. Seeing our situation he offered us a home with them until we could do better. It was a "God-send" and we gladly accepted his proposition. In January we with Mr. Burk walked across the Mississippi River on the ice. He did not dare take his team and wagon. He lived near the temple. Next day the ice had broken and it was some time before he got his team across. Next 23rd of March a baby boy was born to us. We called him George Algernon. Mr. Lightner settled his debts in Montrose by giving his tools which left us poor indeed. Some of the brethren owed us about two thousand dollars who we were hopeful, but those who owed the most took the benefit of the bankrupt law and refused to pay. One man offered to let us have a barrel of pork and coffee pot if we would give him back his note of five hundred dollars which we did. When we opened the barrel we found it sour and full of weevil. As my husband could get no work I commenced giving painting lessons to Julia Murdock Smith, Steven Mark's daughter, and Sarah Ann Whitney. I procured a lot below the Prophet's mansion. Once I heard the Prophet say, 'I have rolled the work of this Kingdom onto the shoulders of the Twelve. If they don't carry it forward they will be damned.' Again he said, ' I have asked the Lord to take me out of this world. I have stood all I can.'
Mr. Lightner got a job of cutting cordwood about fifteen miles up the river at a place called Pontusac. He got a log house and I prepared to move there. The Prophet felt very sad when he knew we were going to leave, and with tears running down his cheeks he prophesied that if we left the Church we would have plenty of sorrow; that we would make property on the right and lose it on the left, we would have sickness on sickness, and lose our children; that I would have to work harder than I ever dreamed; then added, 'and at last when you are worn out and old you will get back to the Church.' I thought these were hard sayings as it seemed as though things had already been about as hard as could be and I felt to doubt them, but the sequel proved them true.
Before leaving Nauvoo to go to Pontusac there was a general parade of the Legion on the 4th of July. As I was living neighbor to the Smith family, Emma came to borrow my dining room table as the officers were to dine with them. The Prophet came also a few minutes later. He was General of the Nauvoo Legion, and it was a great day. It was their last parade. When the Prophet entered he spoke to his wife, then said, 'I want you and you, ' pointing to my Aunt, Brother Henry and wife, and myself, to go and be baptized. He added that he had been commanded to baptize us that day. Emma said, "What Joseph, why is this, they have always been good members of the Church, and another thing, the officers will be for dinner soon.' He answered, 'Never mind, they can wait.' Then Emma said, 'Well, you certainly are not going in those clothes,' to which he replied, 'No, but you all be ready by the time I return.' As we lived on the banks of the river we were soon there. Mr. Lightner carried the baby. Mr. Lightner had never been baptized, and perhaps the Prophet thought he would want to be at that time for of course the rest of us had been baptized some time before, in the year the Church was organized. After we were baptized and confirmed he turned to my husband and said, 'Now, Adam, it's your turn.' Mr. Lightner said, 'No, Joseph, I'll wait till I quit smoking. I don't feel worthy. I will some other time.' I thought Joseph could persuade him as he tried hard. As we walked back to the house my husband went ahead with the baby. Joseph walked by me and said, 'Mary that man will never be baptized in this life, unless it is a few moments before he dies.' And though he was only twenty-one then and lived to be seventy three, crossing the plains, enduring all the hardships, and saw the prophesies of Joseph fulfilled and often said he would be baptized, still he never was. He was the kind that looks at the acts of men and lets that influence him instead of looking at the principles. A few minutes before his death he seemed to want something and looked all around, then finally settled back and said, 'It's too late now.' I thought he may have been wondering if he could yet be baptized. So in all of fifty two years the Prophet's prophecy held good. Who would think it would.
It was with sorrowful feeling I went to Pontusac to live, leaving my friends behind and losing the communion with the Prophet's family. Joseph told me of some of the troubles I would have, how we would lose our children, make property on the right and lose it on the left, and all came to pass as he predicted.
By taking in sewing and the little work my husband had, kept us alive. A lady called to ask if we had a cow. I said no. Then she offered to give me a cow and two pigs if I would let her have my bedstead. I gladly accepted her offer, and we slept on the floor until my husband could make another. In a short time, George, my little boy took sick and passed on. I was alone with him as Mr. Lightner had gone to a neighbor for help. An elderly woman helped me dress him and husband had to make the coffin as he was the only carpenter in the place. The two grave-diggers and a little girl were all that went to see my darling buried. I felt that Joseph's words were beginning to be fulfilled.
We moved to a better house. In 1843 my third son Florentine was born. When he was two months old I began teaching a few children spelling and reading. But in a short time, through catching a severe cold I had inflammation of the bowels. I was so low my life was despaired of. Mother was sent for. She brought consecrated oil with which I was anointed. I felt better and persuaded her to fix quilts in a big chair and let me sit up to have the bed made as it had not been made for weeks. She was afraid to try it as the doctor said I could not live three more days, but I pleaded so hard they granted my request. By tipping the chair back like a bed, I was lifted to it on a sheet. Mother was very nervous and put slippers and hose on me and wrapped quilts all around me. We were in a large room on the second story. While lying there a heavy storm came up suddenly. Our house was struck by lightning. It shocked all of us. There were seven in the family at the time. I was the first to come to my senses. I found myself across the foot of the bed, my head on one side of the foot of the bed, the rest of my body on the bed. As I looked around and saw the family all on the floor I supposed all were dead. I called for Mr. Lightner who had gone into the next room just before the lightning struck. Not getting an answer I got up and walked through the hall to find him on the floor as rigid as a corpse. The window in the hall that was near to the side hill had been torn out and the water was pouring in until it was deep enough for me to dip up with a small bucket, which I did, pouring it over my husband to see if it would revive him. It did no good. The door casing was torn out and struck mother on the shoulder, making a terrible bruise. Soon the doctor and neighbors came in. They had seen the lightning strike and seeing no life around they concluded all were dead. When they saw me they were frightened. The doctor wrapped me in a quilt and carried me to a neighbors. This was about four o'clock, June 6, and it was nine at night before Mr. Lightner could be revived and use his legs. He said he suffered more in being treated to live than he would in dying, but I, who had been turned in bed for two weeks with sheets (for I was so swollen and inflamed I could not stand to be handled) was entirely cured, and soon dressed myself and went about my daily duties. However, for two years whenever a storm came, I was very sick while it lasted. Our house was torn to pieces. The lightning had run from roof to ground in seven different places, and people came from a distance to see it, and wondered that we were not all killed. A few days after this, after getting somewhat settled again I went out to milk the cow. When about finished with the milking she just stepped over the bucket and fell dead. This was indeed a calamity for we depended on her for most of our living.
About this time the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum were taken to Carthage Jail. Soon the men around Pontusac formed a company to go to Carthage, they said to protect the Smiths, also to go against Nauvoo if commanded. I felt they were not truthful and meant mischief. I was called to make a flag for this company. I refused for I was so low spirited I could hardly keep from weeping most of the time. I could not account for these awful feelings. There was no one who knew how to make a flag but myself, and I was compelled to make it or suffer the consequence, as I was the only Mormon in the place. At last I said I would cut the flag and their women could make it, but I knew I had it to do. I felt they were bent on the destruction of the Prophet Joseph. This company left for Carthage, returning during the night. As soon as we were up in the morning a number of men came and called us to the door and said, 'The Smiths are dead, and they do say a great light appeared when they were killed.' I said, 'That should prove to you that Joseph was a true Prophet and a man of God.' One answered, 'It proves that the Lord was well pleased with what was done.' Then they told us if we attempted to go to the funeral that we would be shot. I told them they could shoot me then, but an old man spoke up saying, 'If you stay home no harm will come to you, unless the Mormons come against us.' Adding that if the Mormons did rise up against them I would be the first to be killed and Mr. Lightner too, unless he would join their side. We could not leave there for three months at which time we were down with chills and fever in its worse form, Mr. Lightner got a little girl to come while he took the baby on a pillow, and rode horseback to Mother to have her care for it. I never expected to see my baby again. The thought of dying and leaving my children under such conditions was terrible. I realized that what the Prophet had told me was all coming true. I prayed for God to save me but doctor told them there was no help for me. I dreamed an angel came to me and said if I would go to Nauvoo and call for Brother Cutler who worked on the temple to administer to me, I should be healed. They could not get a team. I was in despair when my brother Henry, who was impressed that all was not well with us, sent a boy with an ox team after me. Some said they would not get a mile away before they would bring back my dead body, but I felt better and said I wanted to be buried in Nauvoo and pleaded to be taken dead or alive. A bed was made in the wagon, and they placed me on it. Neighbors bid me good bye (they were not of our faith.) We went a mile. The team was stopped as all thought me dying. The children were all crying bitterly. I still had my sense and motioned to go on. A few miles further we stopped at a house and asked to stay all night. The woman was willing until she saw me in the wagon, then she said she knew I would die before morning and she did not want me in her house. My husband told her I would certainly die if left in the open wagon all night, so she finally let us in a fixed food for the rest and gave me a drink of tea which made me feel stronger. I rested some that night, but she was glad when we left the next morning. We reached Nauvoo with me in a very precarious condition. No one thought I would live. Mr. Lightner immediately asked Mr. Burk, my mother's husband, if there was a man by the name of Cutler who worked on the temple. When he said yes, he told him my dream. They brought him, and he administered to me and I got up and walked to the fire alone. In two weeks I was able to care for my children. When Mr. Lightner went back for our things he had to pay most of them for doctor bills and rent. My clothes were taken. We were robbed of many things, but I felt thankful to be away from there with my life. Soon after I got well the temple was finished, ready for endowments.
When spring opened Brigham Young sent word from Winter quarters for me to come on and the Lord would bless me. I was destitute of clothes for myself and children and not a dollar. How could I go? I was watched day and night, so do not go, but we went to Galena aboard the 'War Eagle' and managed to get along fairly well for awhile. Then in the last week in June 1847 I was washing and got a needle in my wrist, close to the wrist, and the pain was excruciating. My hand was drawn up to my breast. Four doctors gave no help. I could not sleep, only when exhausted. It was months before I could sew. On the 9th of February, a son was born, John Horace. Later I took in some sewing. I made forty pair of pants at forty to fifty cents a pair, receiving store pay, no money in 1848.
Mr. Lightner got very little work at time and a Mr. Houghton, editor of the Galena Gazette, offered us fifty dollars a month and passage free if we would go to St. Croix Falls and oversee a hotel in which he was interested. We considered this a blessing and went gladly. We found a man in charge who was a good cook. We engaged him to remain with us as we had about fifty boarders. We did well for awhile the Mr. Lightner was taken sick with brain fever and my baby with chills and fever. My heart and time were full, for two weeks I never undressed. After each calamity I would hope our troubles were over but hopes were vain, for my feet began to swell and turn purple. I could not put them to the floor. The doctor said one was mortified and would need to be amputated to save my life. Another doctor said he thought he could save my having it amputated after I had been praying earnestly that it might be saved. After some days the swelling gradually went down and the pain ceased until I could walk once more. Oh how thankful I was to my Heavenly Father that I could walk once more and go about my duties and care for my children. Mr. Lightner was still in a weakened condition. Then my Aunt Gilbert came from Nauvoo to live with us. She was a great help as no relatives were near and none of our faith lived in the place. No one to converse with about Mormonism.
We were once more getting along nicely as all our provisions were furnished and aunt assumed much responsibility with the hotel work. She was a splendid cook and housekeeper. We could save our salary. On the twentieth of September at noon a stranger came to our house, purporting to be a physician from Quincy, Illinois. He wanted to sell us some medicine. He had a root that would cure any kind of cold, liver complaint, or bleeding at the lungs he said. We did not want to buy any, but Aunt had liver trouble and was always interested in herbs, so he gave her some. He appeared to eat some of it and said it would do us all good. We all tasted it and gave some to my two little boys who came running in at the time. In a few moments we were all taken violently ill. At three o'clock my little boys were dead, one ten and the other three. We thought aunt had passed away also. All three were laid out and covered with a sheet, while Mr. Lightner and myself were not expected to live. Two doctors were in attendance and gave no hopes of our recovery. About nine in the evening, to the amazement of all, Aunt came to life, but had convulsions for two weeks. The doctors were surprised at her revival and condition for they and the men had pronounced her dead five hours before she returned to life. This was in 1848.
The whole town turned out to see justice done to the man who gave us the poison. The Mormons were so generally hated that we supposed this man wanted to kill us and took that way, not knowing that any of us would live to tell the tale, as he had urged that the herbs were good for us. Well they caught him and put a rope around his neck and raised the window at the front of my bed for me to see them hang him. He was an elderly man with a pleasing countenance; but when I was asked to look my last upon him I begged them to desist from their purposes and try him by due course of law. Nothing but my deep sorrow and the fear that I too would soon join my departed children caused them to stop. They confined him to the jail or a building they thought secure, but he had a friend or accomplice in the place who assisted him to escape that night. There was a light fall of snow and they tracked him for several days without avail. The next spring a man named Leach opened an office for land entry, the first of its kind in that part of the country. His office was in our house. He had learned of our trouble and being a resident of the State of Illinois and doing business in Quincy, he discovered that the quack doctor was in Quincy in a hospital in a very bad condition. Both feet had been frozen till the flesh dropped from the bones. He told Mr. Leach that he got lost in the woods, after making his escape and would have died if some friendly Indians had not found him and taken care of him until spring, then he was taken aboard the first boat that went down the river in the spring to his home to be a sufferer all his days. Mr. Leach said the man had escaped the vengeance of man but not of God.
The next spring we moved forty miles down the river to Stillwater on the banks of the Lake St. Croix. We resided there until the next spring when we moved to Willow River on the Wisconsin side of the lake. On the third of April, 1853, my daughter Elizabeth was born. The snow was two feet deep on the level. As soon as I was able to travel my husband bought a small farm of 65 acres, opposite Stillwater; part was heavy timber, the rest under cultivation. We built a four room house, but did not get it finished until we moved again. Mr. Lightner bought a horse and cow. In a week the horse was found dead in the stable. We hired a man to drive the cow a few miles and he drove her so fast that she died the next morning. It seemed everything went against us, and as winter was coming on we accepted an offer to keep a three story hotel for three hundred dollars a year with all our supplies furnished. We were glad to get into a warm house for the winters were very severe there. The work was very hard on us so in the spring we went back to our home and on the 9th of April my daughter Mary was born. We stayed at home that season then went to Willow River and kept a boarding house for a Mr. Mears for two years. A boy was born on the 17th of March. When he was four weeks old I was called to go attend the deathbed of my only sister. I went by steamboat to Keokuk and from there to Farmington by stage. I stayed five weeks and then she passed away. She left four children, boys and girls. She died very strong in the faith of Mormonism for which I was thankful. I returned home, taking the oldest girl with me, leaving the rest with friends until I could send for them.
The next year we moved to Marine on the Minnesota side of the lake and rented a hotel at $500.00 a year. While living there I will always believe one of the three Nephites came to our house. We were keeping a hotel and getting ready with extra cooking for a big ball besides expecting a stage full of people to the next meal when a man came and asked for something to eat. My nephew came to the kitchen to tell me. I had a very queer feeling as I looked at him, a solemn feeling as though I wanted to be blessed by him. He had no socks on, said he had come a long way. I looked at his shoes, they were not dusty and his clothing was neat and clean. The roads were dusty so I wondered. I told him he could have some dinner and to sit at one of the tables in a large dining room. I went through another room to the kitchen and began dishing some food. My Aunt Gilbert who was living with us said, 'Shall I cut him a piece of pie?' I said, 'No, you know we have a crowd on the next stage and there is plenty for him without pie.' Then on second thought I said, 'Oh well he might as well have it as anyone.' I took a piece in to him, when I put it down beside his plate he picked it up and raised from his chair and set it down at the other end of the table. I felt queer and was astonished and said, 'Why don't you like pie?' He answered, 'I don't care for any today.' We all felt so strange. He said while eating, 'The place where I stayed last night the people think they are Christians, but they are not.' Then added they are not as good as you. When he stepped out of the door we all looked at each other and said, "Did you ever have such a strange feeling, wonder where he is going." We went to the door but he was nowhere in sight, and it was a mystery to us where he could have gone so soon. I knew he could not have heard our conversation while we were in the kitchen it was too far away. It puzzled us all.
After two years we purchased a two story house and large lot. Then we built a five story hotel for business was increasing at a rapid rate. The house we were in would not accommodate even the traveling public and we had forty regular boarders. We were doing well but in the meantime we had mortgaged the property for the debt, expecting we could pay it in a few months. (We had gone in debt to get it furnished and ready for occupancy.) Then came the war of 1861. Our boarders began to enlist and we lost so many we could not meet the mortgage when due and we lost the whole of the property for which we had labored so hard with many denials. We left a place that held so much misfortune for us, going to Hannibal, Missouri, where we lived a year, waiting for letters from my brother Henry, who had gone to Utah with the first saints that were expelled from Nauvoo. We did not hear from him as soon as expected, and we were afraid to stay there as we were for the Union and the people there were slave owners and sided for the South. So we went back to Minnesota and on October 28th my son Adam was born being my tenth child.
At last the long delayed letter from my brother arrived informing us there was a large company of men and teams being sent from Utah to Omaha to meet immigrants from England, and that one would be sent for us. Oh, how glad we were, it seemed too good to be true. We soon disposed of what we owned after all our moving around and many mishaps and misfortunes.
(The following was taken from a small gray backed book which was a daily diary, written in pencil.)
On May 25, 1863, we embarked on the steamer "Canada" for St. Louis. Our quarters were on the lower deck. All was neat and clean. We slept on our baggage. The next day they began taking on wheat until the boat was very heavily freighted, and we had no place to cook. The two younger boys came down with measles, but no good place to make them comfortable. When we came to Rock Island Bridge which is a very dangerous place for boats to pass through, we saw a number of vessels near ruin. The passengers on our boat were panic stricken after we attempted to pass five times before we succeeded in getting through. Two days after they took on 17 horses on the lower deck which made the atmosphere terrible. In the evening some soldiers came aboard with foul company. Brute beasts filled the place, and conditions were almost intolerable. On the 29th they unloaded grain at Montrose. Nauvoo lies on the opposite bank and looks deserted. One corner alone remained of that once beautiful structure. It was raining hard or I would have crossed the river to see it nearer. As I looked at it and thought of what it once was, what it stood for and the city around it, that had blossomed forth in beauty with its population of 17,000 inhabitants, I mourned over its present condition. (She apparently is talking about the temple.) I thought, "Can it be that I shall see the place no more where once the Prophet stood and moved the hearts of the people to worship God according to the new and everlasting covenant revealed through him to this generation, and where he gave himself a martyr for the cause he taught."
On Saturday arrived in St. Louis and went aboard the steamer "Fanny Ogden" for St. Joseph. We were to have a stove to cook with so laid in a supply of provisions, but we were transferred to the upper deck until the storing of Government supplies was completed. Then five hundred mules and horses were taken aboard consequently we had to remain on the upper deck all the was from there to Omaha with just bread and dried beef to eat as the deck hands had stolen our vegetables. We were crowded and for two days sat near a box containing a corpse. Progress was slow. Half the time we were on sand bars.
A steamer passing gave us word that the rebels were gathering in great numbers. There was a cannon and soldiers on board for our protection. The men built a breastwork of sacks of grain and tobacco, and all hands were prepared for action. June 3rd all was excitement. At Lexington the town was almost destroyed by cannon. It was here my husband's brother was killed. We passed a gloomy night, some doubled up on trunks and any way to get a little rest. Strange as it may seem not a shot was fired at us though we were in a rebel community. On June 7th we arrived at St. Joseph. The river banks were lined with Sioux Indians who were being removed form Minnesota by the Government for their massacre of the whites. That evening some Indians had a pow-wow dance. From there we boarded the "Emilie" for Omaha.
Some Saints came aboard bound for Utah. I rejoiced at seeing them for I had not been with any of the Saints for eighteen years. Landed at Omaha in a heavy rainstorm. Rode six miles to Florence without a cover on the wagon, stopped at a cabin, all of us wet through. There was no chance to make a fire so had to get as much rest as we could with wet bedding. The next night I had the cholera, and the baby had bowel-complaint. Thursday some immigrants arrived with small pox. Two died and ten more were sick. One of the number spent the evening with us, we shook hands with him but he said nothing about the disease. The next day they were sent to the hills where tents were provided for them. On Saturday seven hundred persons from England arrived enroute for Salt Lake City. That was the gathering place for those who intended crossing the plains in 1863. Each day more immigrants arrived from Africa and Denmark. From her diary, "There tents are scattered over the hills and when the camp fires are lit at night it is a beautiful sight. It makes me think how the children of Israel's camp must have looked in the days of Moses when journeying the wilderness. Hundred of mules are in an enclosure, all sleek and fat, looks like prosperity indeed. A train of five hundred teams are hourly looked for. Three deaths have occurred in the Danish camp, also three or four weddings.
June 15, my children have picked three dollars worth of strawberries and the money surely helped. On the 20th my sister's husband, Edwin Bingham, arrived to take us with him to the valley of the mountains. How glad we were to see him. Sunday we prepared for a march, and Monday we started. It rained terrible, we did not sleep much that night with the thunder and lightning and wind. Next morning we dried out clothes, milked the cow, cooked breakfast and were ready for another day's journey. One company of about sixty wagons was ahead of us and a good many behind. A corral was formed each night of the wagons and the cattle all driven inside to keep them safe. All done in order. We had a good man for captain of our company, Brother Ziba Peterson. Meetings were held every evening.
July 3rd were up with the dawn, cooked breakfast with buffalo manure, a hot day, a hard wind. Traveled sixteen miles.
July 4th. All well, caught up with the company ahead. John R. Murdock Captain. Had a dance that evening. Traveled well next day. Saw many varieties of beautiful wild flowers.
July 10th. Very hot. We are on vast prairie. Saw a beautiful herd of buffalo, passed through a dog village. Cunning little fellows dodging in and out of their burrows. One brother killed a deer. Gave me a nice piece. Stopped at Pawnee Springs. The water boils up from a great depth. There are four springs but they told us that last week there were only two. Flowers very pretty, all colors.
July 23rd. One man sick and a baby died very suddenly. A hard time going through the hills, had to double team. Mr. Lightner not very well.
July 24th. Traveled through deep sand, plenty of prickly pear, very good to look at but not so good to handle or walk over. Three Indians came to our camp with two yoke of oxen which the captain traded for, as they belong to the company ahead. One wagon broke down, delayed us three hours.
July 26th. Mr. L. better but baby very sick, has canker and bowel complaint.
July 27th. The most barren, desolate country, nothing to relieve the eye.
July 28th. Passed a small trading post, three tents and a few trees which did our eyes good after seeing so much sand.
July 31st. It has blown dust enough to choke us all to death; passed four graves of immigrants.
August 1st. Among the hills and rocks, but dust inches thick. Saw a telegraph station, two log houses and there was a good well of water which we appreciated. Baked a short cake for supper, had fried bacon, all after dark. Tired to death. Lost the children's pet rabbit.
August 2nd. A train of government soldiers passed us to settle some difficulty with the Indians and gold seekers. Our train stopped to fix wagons and do the washing. Young folks danced and played till midnight. We always have prayers in the evening.
August 3rd. Saw some returned Californians, they spoke well of the Mormons in the valley. One of our cows died from drinking alkali water and saw six dead ones.
August 4th. Lost an ox. A child fell out of a wagon, the wheels passed over both limbs, but it didn't seem to be much hurt. Passed sixteen dead cattle from the other train. A heavy loss.
August 8th. Came to a telegraph station. Quite a little place. Saw a long freight train. Had coffee, bread and thickened milk for dinner. Then caught up with and passed through the train ahead. All well.
August 10th. Came to another station, crossed the Platte River bridge, a good structure. Camped on a hill. More dead cattle. Prospects look gloomy enough. Elizabeth crazy all night with toothache.
August 11th. The anniversary of our wedding day. Twenty five years of joys and sorrows, never to be forgotten. Came to the "Devil's Backbone," a long range of rocks, looks like it had been thrown up from beneath and pointing up like ice in a jam. A singular sight. A company of gold seekers camped near us. We lost more cattle. We came to a saleratus lake. We cut out a quantity to take with us as the captain said there was none in the valley.
August 13th. Passed another station, also Devil's Gate, which consists of two mountains of rock so near together that a wagon just passes through them. Perpendicular walls on either side and so high a man would look like a small boy.
August 15th. Had breakfast of bacon, fried cake and coffee. Traveled on good roads, stopped to cook dinner, the wind blowing a gale of sand all over us. I think we will get our proverbial peck of sand or dust before we get through. Our cow sick, not milk for two days. Sage hens and rabbits were killed today. We have had fresh meat just once since leaving the Mississippi River. Sand all day, feel sick and cross. We always get a horrible place to camp.
August 17th. Saw mountains covered with snow in distance; up and down hills all day. Camped in a good place for a wonder. I am writing by firelight. Danes are at prayer, our folks the same, while I poor sinner am baking bread. I don't much like our preacher, he strokes his beard too much and speaks too low.
August 18th. Saw many antelope, two killed. Captain gave me a nice piece. Camped on a hill for dinner. A beautiful day but so cold that ice formed in our buckets as thick as a knife blade. The captain says we are greatly blessed to what some companies are. Snow in sight. Cool for August. We are on the highest land on this side of the Mississippi. Here the rivers flow toward the Atlantic, on the western side they flow toward the Pacific. Scenery grand. A 400 pound bear was killed and divided among our company. Sixty persons, but I could not bear to eat any. I don't believe they were made for man's food. We are now in Utah but I don't see any change for the better in the face of the land, though I can't see much anyway, have been sick for a week. Crossed Green River Sunday evening, it is a beautiful stream with many ahead as the roads are so dusty we can hardly see ahead. Stopped at a station where our men were required to take the oath of allegiance to the United States government. Our wagons were searched for powder, etc. Not much to say, have been too sick. Was administered to by Brothers Stork and Martin. Helped immediately. Mr. Lightner says that if he finds the people as good when we get to the valley as these are he will join the Church. He looks at the acts of men instead of the principles. Saw two stage coaches pass and more travel today which makes it look more like being in the land of the living. Snow all around in the mountains and down here we are almost smothered with dust. Another stage passed with two missionaries. One was Brigham Young Jr. Arrived at Fort Bridger. A nice substantial looking building. Looks comfortable. Days warm, nights cold. Last evening we bought some onions and potatoes which were a treat. They did us good as we were getting the canker from so long a diet on salt pork. The earth is of a reddish color, mountains greener.
August 31st. Passed through mountains in a round about way; they look many colors and shades look lovely to me. I would like to paint them. One curiosity here is a spring of tar. They use it for their wagons. Weather cold. Passed a mail station also a field of grain. There were some singular looking rocks, reddish sprinkled with pebbles. The earth look like burnt brick. Near is a large cave in a rock called the cascade. Some fruit was brought in a at famine prices. Apples eleven cents a piece.
September 1st. Passed through Echo Canyon. The scenery beautiful to behold. Such rocks I never saw. Passed a few houses and potato patches. From appearances Uncle Sam feeds his men pretty well. I am weak today as we have been on short rations for a week and with the breathing of so much alkali dust we are not feeling so well. Camped near the town of Weber. Then over a narrow on the side of a mountain. Looked dangerous. Came to W. Kimball's ranch. He is rich in cattle and sheep.
September 3rd. Rained last night, the fist since leaving the Platte River. I hope it will lay the dust. Camped at a station in enough dust to kill one.
September 15th. Arrived in Salt Lake City on Emigration Square. All Well, 1863. Went through some of the streets. There were some beautiful homes, orchards and shade trees.
September 17th. My brother, Henry, whom we had not seen for twenty years came to meet us with his mule team and took us south toward Beaver County. Stopped at an old friends in Springville. Heard from many friends. Had a nice time and visit. Had plenty of fruit to eat. Traveled on through a lovely country. Saw a boiling spring and a large cold spring so deep they had never found a bottom. It was full of fish.
September 20th, 1863. Arrived in Minersville! There were my dear mother and sister Phoebe, all well and happy to see us. We were thankful to find friends and a home after an arduous journey of one thousand miles in an ox team. Besides our trips in the steamers from Stillwater to Omaha. At last as the prophet had predicted I had gotten back to the Church and the Saints. In time we got settled and Mr. Lightner, being a carpenter, had work to do and odd jobs. I could always have sewing of men's suits and making buttonholes. They came from all around to have me work buttonholes as I was quite proficient with the needle. Then I taught school. I had married men in my school and there was plenty to keep me busy with five children, the youngest a year old.
At one time while living in southern Utah, Amasa Lyman came and wanted me to join the Godbeites. My husband told me he would join. Amasa said I would be well taken care of and be as high up as anyone. He gave me every inducement but I was not converted to his ideas. As my husband and I sat talking about it one day, I had a queer feeling come over me and went to lie down. I immediately went into a trance or had a most unusual experience while lying there. I called it a dream, which was so plain in every detail that I felt it came to guide me. This dream had been written down by my grandchild, Elsie E. Barrett. It is too long to give here but a being came to me with whom I conversed and who showed me without any doubt by illustrated pictures of harbors just which harbor was the safe one for me to ride in. I saw the Josephite harbor, the Godbeite harbor, and the Brighamite harbor. All of different materials. It was a marvelous representation and after seeing what my guide showed there could have NEVER been any wavering on my part. I told my husband there would be no joining Josephites, Godbeites, nor any other ites, that he was in the right place if he would only do his part.
We had our ups and downs through the years. The children married off all but Adam, the youngest, who passed away at twenty-eight, unmarried.
The authorities stopped at our home many times and Brigham always came to see us. He would have moved us to the City if I would go. It seems I was destined to live in southern Utah until after my husband died. I then went to Ogden to live with a son and finally back to Minersville with my daughter, May.
Brother Heber C. Kimball prophesied the following to me on one of my visits to Salt Lake. We were standing in the old Endowment House talking about the Prophet when he said, 'Sister Lightner, you will see Joseph again before you die.' After Brother Kimball's death I was sitting in my doorway one very warm Sunday evening. I was living in Minersville then. I sat pondering over a sermon I had heard that afternoon in church and was humming the hymn, "All is Well." There was no screen, neither porch. Suddenly I saw just outside the door the Prophet Joseph, his brother Hyrum, and Heber C. Kimball. Joseph stood in the middle with an arm around each of their shoulders. They were bowing and smiling at me. Can you imagine my feelings? There before me were the beloved Prophet and Hyrum with my friend Heber as I had known them in real life. The dear Prophet as I had known him when we lived neighbors in that land where he had inspired his followers to worship their Creator according to the New and Everlasting Covenant as revealed in these last days. Now I was looking into those clear blue penetrating eyes as I had done years ago when he had answered my many questions about the Gospel. Eyes which could read your innermost thought. Joseph and Hyrum who were persecuted, mobbed, and who, like the disciples of Jesus were martyrs for the Gospel's sake, there with our mutual friend, Heber C. Kimball. I looked around, pinched my arm to see if I was dreaming. As they were still smiling and bowing I decided to shake hands with them. Trembling with joy I arose, took a step forward and extended my hand. They began fading away as the going down of the sun. Brother Kimball had helped in the fulfilling of his own prophecy."
Mary Rolling Lightner, after 95 years, 8 months, and 8 days of toil, sorrow and joy passed away December 17, 1913, in Minersville, Beaver County, Utah. Her husband passed away August 19, 1885. They were parents to ten children, all born in the states. At (blank) this date all have passed away. This history was written by her grand-daughter, Elsie E. Barrett, in Los Angeles, California, in the year 1936. Many of the incidents have been related to Mrs. Barrett by her grandmother at various times through the years. At last when her grandmother visited her home, Mrs. Barrett had her repeat them once more while she wrote them. The incidents were always told in about the same words. Mrs. Lightner had a most remarkable memory, was a great reader, and loved to tell her stories. As she was well educated and had a pleasing personality. She could hold a crowd with her interesting talk. She was often called upon to give the Fourth of July oration and could always give a testimony. Having known the Prophet so very intimately she inspired those with whom she conversed.