On the Potter’s Wheel
Stanley B. Kimball, editor
[p.177]This “journal” is taken from the Times and Seasons (Nauvoo, Illinois, Vol. 6 (15 Jan. 1845), 1:770-73; (1 Feb.), 2:787-90; (15 Feb.), 3:803-805; (15 March), 5:838-40; (15 April), 7:866-69. It is a reminiscence of the period from 17 February to 26 July 1836 and is essentially an account of the march of Zion’s Camp. To this, Kimball added an account of his calling to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on 18 February 1835 and of his leaving on a mission to the eastern states on 4 May 1835. The following is not a journal in any sense of the word, but is rather a memoir of events, a reconstruction, based entirely on memory, notes, or a contemporary account that no longer exists.
During my stay here (Kirtland) and on the 17th February 1834, a general council of twenty four High Priests assembled at the house of Joseph Smith jr., by revelation, and proceeded to organize the High Council [p.178]of the church of Christ, which was to consist of twelve High Priests. The number composing the council who voted in the name of and for the church in appointing these councillors were forty three, as follows; nine High Priests, seventeen Elders, four Priests, and thirteen members. During this time I received much precious instruction concerning the order of the kingdom.
When I got to Kirtland the brethren were engaged in building the house of the Lord. The commandment to build the house, and also the pattern of it was given in a revelation to Joseph Smith jr., Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams, and was to be erected by a stated time. The church was in a state of poverty and distress, in consequence of which it appeared almost impossible that the commandment could be fulfilled, at the same time our enemies were raging and threatening destruction upon us, and we had to guard ourselves night after night, and for weeks were not permitted to take off our clothes, and were obliged to lay with our fire locks in our arms.
At this time also, our brethren were suffering great persecution in Jackson county, Missouri; about twelve hundred were driven, plundered and robbed; and their houses burned and some were killed. The whole country seemed to be in arms against us, ready to destroy us. Brother Joseph received a lengthy revelation concerning the redemption of Zion, which remains to be fulfilled in a great measure. But he thought it best to gather together as many of the brethren as he conveniently could, with what means they could spare and go up to Zion to render all the assistance that we could to our afflicted brethren. We gathered clothing and other necessaries to carry up to our brethren and sisters who had been stripped; and putting our horses to the wagons, and taking our firelocks and [p.179]ammunition, we started on our journey; leaving only Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and the workmen who were engaged at the Temple; so that there were very few men left in Kirtland. Our wagons were about full with baggage &c., consequently we had to travel on foot. We started on the 5th of May, and truly this was a solemn morning to me.1 I took leave of my wife and children and friends, not expecting ever to see them again, as myself and brethren were threatened both in that country and in Missouri by the enemies, that they would destroy us and exterminate us from the land.
There were about one hundred brethren in our company who started for Zion. These brethren were all young men and nearly all elders, Priests, Teachers and Deacons. The second day we arrived at New Portage, being about 50 miles, at which place on the 7th, we made regulations for traveling, and appointed a paymaster whose name was Frederick G. Williams, and put all of our monies into a general fund. Some of the brethren had considerable, and others had little or none, yet all became equal. While here one of my horses received a kick from another horse, which obliged me to trade away my span, and get another span of older horses. We then proceeded on our journey twelve miles to the Chippeway. Here we pitched our tents under a pine grove. The next day we were divided into companies of twelve each, and captains were appointed over each company. I then organized my com-[p.180]pany in the following manner, appointing two to attend to cooking, two to see that fires were made, two to prepare the tent at night and prepare the bedding, and also to strike the tent each morning, two to fetch and provide water, one to do the running, two to see to the horses, see that the wagon was greased, and every thing prepared for starting. My business was to see that the company was provided for, and to see that all things were done in order. Our living generally was very good, being able to buy bread from the bakers on the way through the settled part of the country.—After this we purchased flour and had to bake our own bread. We sometimes had to live mostly on johnny cake and corn dodger, and sometimes our living was scant. Every night before we went to bed we united in our tent and offered up our prayers before the Lord for protection. This was done at the sound of a trumpet; and at the sound of the trumpet in the morning, every man was upon his knees and some one made prayer. There was a similar order attended to in each tent. There were higher officers appointed over the company.
On the 8th we started on our journey, and on Saturday the 10th, we passed through Mansfield and camped for the Sabbath in Richfield. On Sunday the 11th, brother Sylvester Smith preached and the sacrament of bread and wine was administered to the company. On monday the 12th we passed over the Sandusky Plains, and through the Indian settlements.—We then passed through a long range of beech woods, where the roads were very bad. In many instances we had to fasten ropes to the wagons to haul them out of the sloughs and mud holes. While passing through these woods, the brethren scattered on each side [of] the road and went to hunting for wild game. We came to Belle Fontain where we first discovered refractory feelings in Sylvester Smith. We passed through a [p.181]very pleasant country to Dayton Ohio, where we crossed the Miami River, which is a very beautiful stream; the water being only about two and a half feet deep, most of the brethren forded it. We arrived at this place on Friday the 16th. The brethren were in good spirits, and the Lord was with us. On Saturday the 17th we passed into Indiana, just on the line betwixt the State of Ohio and Indianna [sic], where we camped for the Sabbath, having travelled forty miles that day. Our feet were very sore and blistered, and our stockings were wet with blood, the weather being very warm.
This night a spy from the enemy attempted to get into our camp but was stopped by the guard. We had our sentinels or guards appointed every night, on account of spies continually harassing us. On this evening there was quite a difficulty between some of the brethren and Sylvester Smith, on occasion of which brother Joseph was called to decide the matter. Finding quite a rebellious spirit in Sylvester Smith, and to some extent in others, he said that they would meet with misfortunes, difficulties and hindrances, “and you will know it before you leave this place”; exhorting them to humble themselves before the Lord and become united, that they might not be scourged. A very singular occurance [sic] took place that night, and the next day concerning our teams. On the following morning when we arose we found almost every horse in the camp so badly foundered that we could scarce lead them a few rods to the water. The brethren then deeply realized the effects of discord. When brother Joseph learned the fact he exclaimed to the brethren, that for a witness that God overruled and had his eye upon them, that all those who would humble themselves before the Lord, should know that the hand of God was in this misfortune, and their horses should be restored to health im-[p.182]mediately, and by twelve o’clock the same day the horses were as nimble as ever, with the exception of one of Sylvester Smith’s which soon afterwards died.
On Sunday the 18th we had preaching as usual and administered the sacrament. I did not attend meeting myself as I was writing a letter to my companion. Monday 19th we passed through Indianopolis [sic] where we crossed white river. The teams forded the river—most of the brethren crossed over the new bridge which was unfinished. We were threatened by our enemies that we should not go through the town, but we passed through quietly and were not molested, everything appeared to be in perfect silence as we went through, although the people looked aghast as if fear had come upon them. At night we camped on an open spot, the hight [sic] of an eminence. Here we lost one horse, On Sunday the 25th we arrived at the edge of Illinois. We had no meeting but attended to washing and baking to prepare for our journey again. On Monday 26th, we resumed our journey. At night we were alarmed by the continual threatening of our enemies. I would here remark that notwithstanding so many threats were thrown out against us we did not fear nor hesitate to proceed on our journey for God was with us, and angels went before us, and we had no fear of either men or devils. This we know because they (angels) were seen. On Tuesday the 27th we came to the Kaskaskia,—a deep river,—where we found two skiffs: we took and lashed them together and they served as a kind of ferry boat. We took our baggage out of our wagons and put it on board and ferried it across; then took our wagons and horses, and swam them across, and when they got them to the shore side, the brethren cast ropes into the tongues of the wagons, and helped the horses and wagons out of the river; others fell trees and laid [p.183]them across the river, and thus helped themselves over. In this way we were all enabled to cross in safety. Wednesday the 28th we reached the town of Decatur. Here we lost another horse. Saturday the 31st at night, we camped one mile from Jacksonville and prepared for the Sabbath. On sunday, June 1st, we had preaching all day, and many of the inhabitants of the town came out to hear. Brother John Carter preached in the morning. By this time the inhabitants began to flock down in companies to hear preaching, as they understood we were professors of religion and had had a meeting in the morning. Brother Joseph then proposed that some of the brethren should set forth different portions of the gospel in their discourses, as held by the religious world. He called upon brother Joseph Young to preach upon the principles of free salvation. He then called upon brother Brigham Young to speak, who set forth baptism as essential to salvation. He was followed by brother Orson Hyde who proved by the scriptures that baptism was for the remission of sins. He next called upon brother Lyman Johnson, who spoke at some length upon the necessity of men being upright in their walk, and keeping the Sabbath day holy. He then called upon brother Orson Pratt who delivered an excellent discourse on the principles of the final restoration of all things. The services of the day were concluded by a powerful exhortation from Eleazer Miller. His voice was said to be heard a mile and a half.
I would here remark concerning brother Eleazer Miller who was one of the first that brought the gospel to us in Mendon N. Y., when he used to retire to a little grove near my house for secret prayer, he would get so filled with the spirit and power of the Holy Ghost that he would burst out into a loud voice, so that he was heard by the surrounding inhabitants for more than a mile. After [p.184]the day’s services were over at this place many strangers were in our camp making remarks upon the preaching which they had heard. They said that brother Joseph Young by his preaching they should judge was a Methodist. They thought brother Brigham Young was a close communion Baptist. Brother Orson Hyde they supposed was a Campbellite, or reformed Baptist. —Brother Lyman Johnson they supposed was a Presbyterian, and brother Orson Pratt a Restorationer. They enquired if we all belonged to one denomination. The answer was, We were some of us Baptists, some Methodists, some Presbyterians, some Campbellites, some Restorationers &c. On Monday morning when we passed through Jacksonville, they undertook to count us, and I heard one man say, who stood in the door of a cabinet shop that he had counted a little rising of five hundred, but he could not tell how many there were. This thing was attempted many times in villages and towns as we passed through, but the people were never able to ascertain our number.
One circumstance that occurred while we were traveling in Indiana, I will here mention, concerning some spies who came into our camp. One day while we were eating dinner three gentleman [sic] came riding up on very fine looking horses and commenced their inquiries of various ones concerning our traveling in so large a body, asking where we were from, and where we were going. The reply was as usual some from the State of Maine, another would say, I am from York state, some from Massachusetts, some from Ohio, and some replied, we are from the east, and as soon as we have done eating dinner we shall be going to the west again. They then addressed themselves to Doctor Williams to see if they could find out who the leader of the camp was. The Doctor replied, we have no one in particular. They asked if [p.185]we had not a general to take the lead of the company? The reply was, no one in particular. But said they, is there not some one among you who you call your captain, or leader, or superior to the rest? He answered, sometimes one and sometimes another takes charge of the company so as not to throw the burthen upon any one in particular. These same spies who had come from the west passed us that same day, or the next.
On Monday, June 2nd, we crossed the Illinois river. The enemies had threatened that we should not pass over here, but we were ferried across without any difficulty. Here we were counted by the ferryman, and he declared we were five hundred in number, although there was only about one hundred and fifty of us. Our company had increased since we started from Kirtland, in consequence of many having volunteered and joined us from the different branches of the church, through which we had passed in our journey. We camped on the bank of the river until next day.
On Tuesday the 3rd, we went up, several of us, with Joseph Smith jr. to the top of a mound on the bank of the Illinois river, which was several hundred feet above the river, and from the summit of which we had a pleasant view of the surrounding country: we could overlook the tops of the trees, on to the meadow or prairie on each side [of] the river as far as our eyes could extend, which was one of the most pleasant scenes I ever beheld. On the top of this mound there was the appearance of three altars, which had been built of stone, one above another, according to the ancient order; and the ground was strewn over with human bones. This caused in us very peculiar feelings, to see the bones of our fellow creatures scattered in this manner, who had been slain in ages past. We felt prompted to dig down into the mound, and sending for a [p.186]shovel and hoe, we proceeded to move away the earth. At about one foot deep we discovered the skeleton of a man, almost entire; and between two of his ribs we found an Indian arrow, which had evidently been the cause of his death. We took the leg and thigh bones and carried them along with us to Clay county. All four appeared sound. Elder B. Young has yet the arrow in his possession. It is a common thing to find bones thus drenching upon the earth in this country. The same day, we pursued our journey.—While on our way we felt anxious to know who the person was who had been killed by that arrow. It was made known to Joseph that he had been an officer who fell in battle, in the last destruction among the Lamanites, and his name was Zelph. This caused us to rejoice much, to think that God was so mindful of us as to show these things to his servant. Brother Joseph had enquired of the Lord and it was made known in a vision.
This day, June 3rd, while we were refreshing ourselves and teams, about the middle of the day, Brother Joseph got up in a wagon and said, that he would deliver a prophecy. After giving the brethren much good advice, exhorting them to faithfulness and humility, he said, the Lord had told him that there would a scourge come upon the camp, in consequences of the fractious and unruly spirits that appeared among them and they should die like sheep with the rot; still if they would repent and humble themselves before the Lord, the scourge in a great measure might be turned away; but, as the Lord lives, this camp will suffer for giving way to their unruly temper, which afterwards actually did take place to the sorrow of the brethren.
The same day when we had got within one mile of the Snye, we came to a very beautiful little town called Atlas. Here we found honey for the first time on our jour-[p.187]ney, that we could buy; we purchased about two thirds of a barrel. We went down to the Snye and crossed over that night in a ferry boat. We camped for the night on the bank of the Snye. There was a great excitement in the country through which we had passed, and also ahead of us; the mob threatened to stop us. Guns were fired in almost all directions through the night.—Brother Joseph did not sleep much, if any, but was through the camp, pretty much during the night.
We pursued our journey on the 4th, and camped on the bank of the Mississippi river.— Here we were somewhat afflicted and the enemy threatened much that we should not cross over the river out of Illinois into Missouri. It took us two days to cross the river, as we had but one ferry boat, and the river was one mile and a half wide. While some were crossing many others spent their time in hunting and fishing, &c. When we had got over, we camped about one mile back from the little town of Louisiana, in a beautiful oak grove, which is immediately on the bank of the river. At this place there was some feelings of hostility manifested again by Sylvester Smith, in consequence of a dog growling at him while he was marching his company up to the camp, he being the last that came over the river.—The next morning Brother Joseph said that he would descent to the spirit that was manifested by some of the brethren, to let them see the folly of their wickedness. He rose up and commenced speaking, by saying, “if any man insults me, or abuses me, I will stand in my own defence at the expense of my life; and if a dog growl at me, I will let him know that I am his master.” At this moment Sylvester Smith, who had just returned from where he had turned out his horses to feed, came up, and hearing Brother Joseph make those remarks, said, “if that dog bites me, I’ll kill him.”—Brother [p.188]Joseph turned to Sylvester and said, “if you kill that dog, I’ll whip you,” and then went on to show the brethren how wicked and unchristianlike such conduct appeared before the eyes of truth and justice.
On Friday the 6th, we resumed our journey. On Saturday the 7th, at night, we camped among our brethren at Salt river, in the Allred settlement, in a piece of woods by a beautiful spring of water and prepared for the Sabbath. On the Sabbath we had preaching. Here we remained several days, washing our clothes, and preparing to pursue our journey. Here we were joined by Hyrum Smith and Lyman Wight with another company. The camp now numbered two hundred and five men, all armed and equipped as the law directs. It was delightful to see the company for they were all young men with one or two exceptions, and in good spirits.
We were now re-organised, according to the following order: Lyman Wight was chosen general of the camp; then Brother Joseph chose twenty men out of the camp for his life guard, I being one of the number. Brother George A. Smith was Brother Joseph’s armor bearer; Hyrum Smith was chosen captain of the life guard. The remainder of the camp was organised into companies as before stated. We had twenty-five wagons, two horses in each and some three. One day while we remained here, our general marched us out on a large meadow or prairie.—He then proceeded to inspect us and examine our firelock, &c.; afterwards we marched in platoons and an object being placed, we discharged our pieces in order to try them. We were drilled about half a day and then returned to the camp.
On the 12th, we again resumed our march: many of the inhabitants went with us several miles; they seemed [p.189]to have much respect of us. We traveled about fourteen miles, and camped on a large prairie.
Friday the 13th, my horses got loose and went back ten miles, with others. I pursued after them and returned back to the camp in about two hours. We tarried in the middle of this prairie which is about twenty eight miles across, on account of a rupture which took place in the camp. Here F. G. Williams and Roger Orton, received a very serious chastisement from Brother Joseph, for not obeying orders previously given. The chastisement given to Roger Orton, was given more particularly for suffering me to go back after the horses, as I was one of Joseph’s life guard, and it belonged to Roger to attend to the team; but, as the team was my own and I had had the care of it all through, he still throwed the care on me, which was contrary to orders, inasmuch as the responsibility rested upon him to see to the team: In this place further regulations were made in regard to the organization of the camp.
A day or two after this Bishop Partridge met us direct from Clay county, as we were camping on the bank of the Waconda river in the woods. We received much information from Brother Partridge concerning the hostile feelings and prejudices that existed against us in Missouri in all quarters. It gave us great satisfaction to receive intelligence from him, as we were in perils, and threatened all the while.—I will here mention one circumstance that transpired during our stay at this place, which was, that of Brother Lyman Wight baptising Dean Gould as he was not previously a member of the church yet had accompanied us all the way from Kirtland.
We pursued our journey and followed the bank of the river for several miles. As we left the river and came into a very beautiful prairie Brother William Smith, one [p.190]of the Twelve, killed a very large deer, which made us some very nourishing soup, and added to our comfort considerably.
On Wednesday the 18th at night we camped one mile from the town of Richmond, Ray co. On Thursday the 19th, we arose as soon as it was light and passed through the town before the inhabitants were up. As Luke Johnson and others, were passing through before the teams came along, Brother Luke observed a black woman in a gentleman’s garden near the road. She beckoned to him and said, “come here massa.” She was evidently much agitated in her feelings. He went up to the fence and she said to him, there is a company of men laying in wait here who are calculating to kill you this morning as you pass through. This was nothing new to us as we had been threatened continually through the whole journey, and death and destruction seemed to await us daily. This day we only traveled about fifteen miles. One wagon broke down; and the wheels run off from others, and there seemed to be many things to hinder our progress, although we strove with all diligence to speed our way forward. Our intentions were, when we started to go through to Clay county that day, but all in vain. This night we camped on an elevated piece of land between the two branches of the Fishing river, the main branch of which was formed by seven small streams or branches, these being two of them. Just as we halted and were making preparations for the night, five men rode into the camp, and told us we should see hell before morning, and such horrible oaths as came from their lips, I never heard before. They told us that sixty men were coming from Richmond, Ray county, who had sworn to destroy us, also, seventy more were coming from Clay county, to assist in our destruction. These men were armed with guns, and the whole [p.191]country was in a rage against us, and nothing but the power of God could save us. All this time the weather was fine and pleasant. Soon after these men left us we discovered a small black cloud rising in the west; and not more than twenty minutes passed away before it began to rain and hail, but we had very little of the hail in our camp. All around us the hail was heavy; some of the hailstones, or rather lumps of ice, were as large as hens eggs. The thunders rolled with awful majesty, and the red lightnings flashed through the horizon, making it so light that I could see to pick up a pin almost any time through the night; the earth quaked and trembled, and there being no cessation it seemed as though the Almighty had issued forth his mandate of vengeance. The wind was so terrible that many of our tents were blown over and we were not able to hold them; but there being an old meeting house close at hand, many of us fled there to secure ourselves from the storm. Many trees were blown down, and others twisted and wrung like a withe. The mob came to the river, two miles from us; and the river had risen to that height that they were obliged to stop without crossing over. The hail fell so heavy upon them that it beat holes in their hats, and in some instances even broke the stocks off their guns; their horses being frightened fled leaving the riders on the ground, their powder was wet and it was evident the Almighty fought in our defence. This night the river raised forty feet.
In the morning I went to the river in company with Brother Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, and others, as we had it in contemplation to proceed that morning to Liberty, Clay county; but we could not continue our journey as there was no way to cross the river. It was then overflowing its banks, and we have seen the river since and proved that it was full forty feet [p.192]from the top of the banks to the bottom of the river. Previous to this rain falling, it was no more than ancle [sic] deep. Such a time never was known by us before; still, we felt calm all night and the Lord was with us.—The water was ancle [sic] deep to us all night so we could not sleep.
At this place, W. W. Phelps, S. W. Denton, John Corrill, with many others from Liberty joined us, from whom we received much information concerning the situation of the brethren who had been driven from Jackson county, and the fixed determination of our enemies to drive or exterminate them from that county.
The next day when we moved into the country we saw that the hail had destroyed the crops and we saw that it had come in some directions within a mile, and in other directions within half a mile of our camp. After passing a short distance the ground was literally covered with branches of the trees which had been cut off by the hail. We went a distance of five miles on a prairie to get food for our horses, and also to get provisions for ourselves; and to get into some secure place, where we could defend ourselves from the rage of the enemy. We stayed here three or four days until the rage of the people was allayed.
On the 21st, Colonel Searcy and two other leading men from Ray county, came to see us, desiring to know what our intentions were; for said he, “I see that there is an Almighty power that protects this people, for I started from Richmond, Ray county, with a company of armed men having a fixed determination to destroy you, but was kept back by the storm and was not able to reach you.” When he came into the camp he was seized with such a trembling, that he was obliged to sit down in order to compose himself. When he desired to know what [p.193]our intentions were, Brother Joseph arose and began to speak and the power of God rested upon him. He gave a relation of the sufferings of our people in Jackson county, and also of all our persecutions and what we had suffered by our enemies for our religion; and that we had come one thousand miles to assist our brethren, to bring them clothing, and to reinstate them upon their own lands; that we had no intentions to molest or injure any people, but only to administer to the wants of our afflicted brethren; and that the evil reports, which were circulated about us were false, and were circulated by our enemies to get us destroyed.
After he got through and had spoke quite lengthy, the power of which melted them into compassion, they arose and offered him their hands, and said they would use their influence to allay the excitement which everywhere prevailed against us. They accordingly went forth and rode day and night to pacify the people; and they wept because they saw we were a poor afflicted people, and our intentions were pure. The next day the Sheriff of that county, named Gilliam, came to deliver a short address to us. We formed into companies and marched into a grove a little distance form the camp and there formed ourselves into a circle, and sat down upon the ground. Previous to Mr. Gilliams address, he (Gilliam) said, “I have heard much concerning Joseph, and I have been informed that he is in your camp, if he is here I would like to see him.” Brother Joseph arose and said, I am the man. This was the first time he was made known during the journey. Mr. Gilliam then arose and gave us some instructions concerning the manners and customs of the people, their dispositions, &c., and what course we should take in order to gain their favor and protection.
On Sabbath day while we were in this place, be-[p.194]ing in want of salt, I took it upon me to go to some of the inhabitants and get some; Brother Smalling took his rifle and went along with me. After passing through a patch enclosed by hazle [sic] bushes, about two miles from the camp, I discovered a deer a little distance ahead of us standing across the path; I made motions to Brother Smalling, and he, drawing up his rifle over my shoulder, which served for a rest, fired and hit the deer just behind the shoulder, it ran a few rods and fell. We cut a pole and fastening it on the pole, got it on our shoulders and carried it along to the camp. When we got to the camp we dressed it and divided it among the different companies, and had an excellent feast.
Here Brother Thayre was taken sick with the cholera, and also Brother Hayes. We left them there, and also Brother Hancock who had been taken with the cholera during the storm. Bro. Joseph called the camp together, and told us that in consequence of the disobedience of some who had not been willing to listen to his words, but had been rebellious, God had decreed that sickness should come upon us, and we should die like sheep with the rot; and said he, “I am sorry, but I cannot help it.” When he spake these things it pierced me like a dart, having a testimony that so it would be. In the afternoon of this day, we began to receive the revelation known as the “Fishing River revelation.”
On Monday we held a council as follows:
Clay County, Mo., June 23, 1834.
A council of high priests met according to a revelation received the previous day, to choose some of the first elders to receive their endowment; being appointed by the voice of the spirit, through Joseph Smith jr., president of the church.
[p.195]They proceeded: Edward Partridge is called and chosen, and is to go to Kirtland and receive his endowment with power from on high; and also, stand in his office as bishop to purchase land in Missouri.
W. W. Phelps is called and chosen, and it is appointed unto him to receive his endowment with power from on high; and help carry on the printing establishment till Zion is redeemed.
Isaac Morley is called and chosen, and it is appointed unto him to receive his endowment with power from on high in Kirtland; and assist in gathering up the strength of the Lord’s house, and preach the gospel. John Corrill the same as Isaac Morley.
John Whitmer is called and chosen, and it is appointed unto him to receive his endowment in Kirtland, with power from on high; and continue in his office.
David Whitmer is called and chosen, and it is appointed unto him to receive his endowment in Kirtland, with power on high; and stand in the office appointed unto him.
A. S. Gilbert is called and chosen, and it is appointed unto him to receive his endowment from on high in Kirtland; and to assist in gathering up the strength of the Lord’s house; and to proclaim the everlasting gospel till Zion is redeemed. He said in his heart he could not do it, and died in about three days.
Peter Whitmer is called and chosen, and it is appointed unto him to receive his endowment in Kirtland, with power from on high, and assist in gathering up the strength of the Lord’s house; and proclaim the gospel.
Simeon Carter is called and chosen, and it is appointed unto him to receive his endowment in Kirtland, with power from on high; and assist in gathering up the [p.196]strength of the Lord’s house; and proclaim the everlasting gospel.
Newel Knight is called and chosen and it is appointed unto him to receive his endowment in Kirtland with power from on high; and assist in gathering up the strength of the Lord’s house; and preach the gospel.
Thomas B. Marsh is called and chosen and it is appointed unto him to receive his endowment in Kirtland with power from on high; and his office will be made known hereafter.
Lyman Wight is called and chosen, and it is appointed unto him to receive his endowment in Kirtland with power from on high; to return to Zion, and his office shall be appointed to him hereafter.
Parley P. Pratt is called and chosen, and it is appointed unto him to receive his endowment in Kirtland with power from on high; and assist in gathering up the strength of the Lord’s house; and proclaim the gospel.
Christian Whitmer is called and chosen and it is appointed unto him to receive his endowment in Kirtland with power from on high; and assist in gathering up the strength of the Lord’s house; and proclaim the gospel.
Solomon Hancock is called and chosen, and it is appointed unto him to receive his endowment in Kirtland with power from on high; and assist in gathering up the strength of the Lord’s house, and proclaim the everlasting gospel.
F. G. WILLIAMS, Clerk.
On the morning of the 24th we started for Liberty, Clay county, where our brethren were residing, who had been driven from Jackson county, taking our course round the head of Fishing River, in consequence of highwater. When we got within five or six miles of Lib-[p.197]erty, General Atchison, and several other gentlemen, met us, desiring that we would not go to Liberty, as the feelings of the people of that place was much enraged against us. Changing our course and bearing to the left, we pursued our way across a prairie; then passing through a wood until we came to brother Sidney Gilberts, where we camped on the bottom of Rush Creek, in a field belonging to brother Burket on the 25th.
This night the cholera came upon us, as we had been warned by the servant of God. About 12 o’clock at night we began to hear the cries of those who were seized with the cholera, and they fell before the destroyer. Even those on guard fell with their guns in their hands to the ground, and we had to exert ourselves considerably to attend to the sick, for they fell on every hand. Thus it continued till morning when the camp was separated into several small bands and were dispersed among the brethren.
I was left at the camp in company with three or four of my brethren in care of those who were sick. We staid [sic] with, and prayed for them, hoping they would recover, but all hope was lost, for about 6 o’clock p.m., John S. Carter expired, he being the first that died in the camp.
When the cholera first broke out in the camp, brother John S. Carter was the first who went forward to rebuke it, but himself was immediately seized by it, and as before stated, was the first who was slain. In about 30 minutes after his death, Seth Hitchcock followed him; and it appeared as though we must sink under the destroyer with them.
We were not able to obtain boards to make them coffins, but were under the necessity of rolling them up in their blankets, and burying them in that manner. So [p.198]we placed them on a sled, which was drawn by a horse about half a mile, where we buried them in a little bluff by the side of a small stream that emptied into Rush Creek. This was accomplished by dark, and returned back.
Our hopes were that no more would die, but while we were uniting in a covenant to pray once more with uplifted hands to God, we looked at our beloved brother, Elder Wilcox, and he was gasping his last. At this scene my feelings were beyond expression. Those only who witnessed it, can realize any thing of the nature of our sufferings, and I felt to weep and pray to the Lord, that he would spare my life that I might behold my dear family again. I felt to covenant with my brethren, and I felt in my heart never to commit another sin while I lived. We felt to sit and weep over our brethren, and so great was our sorrow that we could have washed them with our tears, to realize that they had travelled 1000 miles through so much fatigue to lay down their lives for our brethren; and who hath greater love than he who is willing to lay down his life for his brethren. This increased our love to them. About 12 o’clock at night we placed him on a small sled, which we drew to the place of interment, with one hand hold of the rope, and in the other we bore our firelocks for our defence. While one or two were digging the grave, the rest stood with their arms to defend them.
This was our situation, the enemies around us, and the destroyer in our midst. Soon after we returned back, another brother was taken away from our little band; thus it continued until five out of ten were taken away. It was truly affecting to see the love manifested among the brethren for each other, during this afliction [sic]; even brother Joseph, seeing the sufferings of his brethren, stepped forward to rebuke the destroyer, but was immediately seized with the disease himself; and I assisted him [p.199]a short distance from the place when it was with difficulty he could walk. All that kept our enemies from us was the fear of the destroyer which the Lord so sent among us.
After burying these five brethren, or about this time, I was seized by the hand of the destroyer, as I had gone in the woods to pray. I was instantly struck blind, and saw no way whereby I could free myself from the disease, only to exert myself by jumping and thrashing myself bout, until my sight returned to me, and my blood began to circulate in my veins. I started and ran some distance, and by this means, through the help of God, I was enabled to extricate myself from the grasp of death. This circumstance transpired in a piece of woods just behind brother Stanley Gilbert’s house.
On the 26th, Algernon Sidney Gilbert, keeper of the Lord’s Store House, signed a letter to the Governor, in connexion [sic] with others, which was his last public act, for he had been called to preach, and he said he would rather die than go forth and preach the gospel to the Gentiles. The Lord took him at his word; he was attacked with the cholera and died about the 29th.
Two other brethren died at brother Gilbert’s house about this same time. One of these was a cousin to brother Joseph Smith, the Prophet. The names of those brethren who were with me to assist in taking care of the sick, are as follows: Joseph B. Noble, John D. Parker and Luke Johnson, also brother Ingleson, who died soon after we left.
While we were here, the brethren being in want of some refreshments, brother Luke Johnson went to brother Burket to get a fowl, asking him for one to make a broth; but brother Burket denied him of it; saying: in a few days we expect to return back into Jackson county, [p.200]from whence we were driven, and he should want them when he got there. When brother Johnson brought this report, judge how we felt, after having left the society of our beloved families, taking our lives in our hands, and traveling about one thousand miles through scenes of suffering and sorrow, for the benefit of our brethren, and after all to be denied of a small fowl to make a little soup. Such things as those never fail to bring their reward, and it would be well for the saints never to turn away a brother, who is penniless and in want, or a stranger, lest they may one day or other want a friend themselves.
I went to Liberty, to the house of brother Peter Whitmer, which place I reached with difficulty, being much afflicted myself with the disease that was among us. I stayed there until I started for home. I received great kindness from them and also from sister Vienna Jaques, who administered to my wants and also to my brethren—may the Lord reward them for their kindness.
While I was here a council was called at brother Lyman Wights, which I attended with the rest of the brethren. The church was organized; a presidency and high council chosen and organized and many were chosen from them to go to Kirtland to be endowed.
From that time the destroyer ceased, having afflicted us about four days. Sixty eight were taken with the disease, of which number fourteen died, the remainder recovered, as we found out an effectual remedy for this disease, which was, by dipping the person afflicted into cold water, or pouring it on him, which had the desired effect of stopping the purging, vomiting, and cramping. Some of the brethren, when they were seized with the disease and began to cramp and purge, the fever raging upon them, desired to be put into cold water and some stripped and plunged themselves into the stream and ob-[p.2-1]tained immediate relief. This led us to try the experiment on others, and in every case it proved highly beneficial and effectual, where it was taken in season.
On the 23d of June, Brother Joseph received a revelation, as before stated, saying that the Lord had accepted our offering, even as he accepted that of Abraham, therefore he had a great blessing laid up in store for us, and an endowment for all, and those who had families might return home, and those who had no families should tarry until the Lord said they should go.
I received an honorable discharge, in writing, from the hand of our General, Lyman Wight, to the effect that I had discharged my duty in my office and that I was at liberty to return home. Before we separated the money which had been put into the hands of our paymaster, and had not been used, was equally divided amongst the company, making one dollar and sixteen cents each. Some of these brethren had no money when we started from Kirtland, but they received an equal share with the rest.
During our stay in Missouri, Brother Joseph B. Noble was very sick for some time, and was taken care of by Elders Brigham, and Joseph Young, at the house of Joel Sandford, in Liberty, Clay county. It was with great exertion that his life was preserved, and that by the application of cold water being drawn out of the well, and poured upon him, daily and hourly. He was deaf, discharged a large amount of corrupt matter from the ears, and was almost blind—and in fact the most who were saved from the cholera, were saved by throwing cold water upon them, or plunging them in the stream, by which means the cramp and purging were stayed—the sufferers invariably besought us to plunge them in pools, and springs of cold water, while their thirst for the same was very great, while our fears were, it would be an injury to them; [p.202]yet by the blessing of heaven, it was the only means of saving them, that were saved from this destroyer, the cholera. Brother Nobles’ life was yet despaired of, but he was resolute, and nothing would satisfy him, but to return home. June 30, 1834, I started for home, in company with Lyman Sherman, Sylvester Smith, Alexander Badlam, Harrison Burgess, Luke Johnson and Zera Cole, with Brother Sylvester Smith’s team, as I had left mine in Missouri. About this time Brother Brigham Young started in company with about the same number that was with me, with James Foster’s team.
After proceeding about three miles, we stopped and made arrangements for travelling. They chose me to be their captain home, and all put their money into my hands, which amounted to forty dollars. From thence we proceeded until we came to Brother Thomas B. Marsh’s house; his wife gave us some dinner, and we proceeded on our journey. May the Lord bless her for it. This day we crossed a branch of the Fishing River, in a scow, and when we were pulling our waggon [sic] out of it, it was sinking. here an enemy came and swore he would shoot us. From thence we continued on to one Brother Ball’s, where we stayed all night; some slept on the floor, and some in the corn crib. The next morning we pursued our jonrney [sic], and after travelling about eight miles we came to the Missouri River, which we crossed in a scow, the current was so rapid that it carried us down one mile. After we had got over the river, and had travelled about two miles we came into the village of Lexington. Here we were threatened some by our enemies, but out of their hands the Lord delivered us.—From thence we proceeded daily, and receiving no harm, we travelled until we came within about half a mile of St. Charles. Here we pitched our tents by the side of the road and tarried all night. [p.203]The next morning we passed through the village which looked very gloomy as the cholera had nearly desolated the place. After travelling about eight miles, we came to Jack’s Ferry on the Missouri, where we again crossed the stream. We then proceeded about five miles and stopped to take some refreshment. Here we were again accosted by one of our enemies, who swore he would kill us that night; we travelled about ten miles after sunset and camped in the woods. The Lord again delivered us from the grasp of our enemies. We proceeded on our journey daily, the Lord blessing us with health and strength. The weather was very hot, still we travelled from thirty-five to forty miles a day, until about the 26th of July, when we arrived in Kirtland; having been gone from home about three months, during which time, with the exception of four nights, I found my rest on the ground. We did not travel on the Sabbath during our journey back, but attended to breaking of bread &c. On my arrival at home, I found my family well, enjoying the blessings and comforts of life, and I felt to rejoice in the Lord that he had preserved my life, through many dangers, seen and unseen, and brought me to behold my family in peace and prosperity. After being at home two weeks and resting myself, I concluded I had finished my mission the Lord called me to, and I went to my old occupation. I established my business as a potter, and continued about three months until cold weather came on, when I was under the necessity of stopping for the time being, calculating on the opening of spring to commence business on a larger scale, thinking as did Peter of old, “I go a fishing.” I had got an idea similar to that which the ancient apostles had when the Savior was taken from them, and they went a fishing, so I went to the mechanic’s shop. At this time the brethren were laboring night and day building the house of the [p.204]Lord. Our women were engaged in spinning and knitting in order to clothe those who were laboring at the building, and the Lord only knows the scenes of poverty, tribulation, and distress which we passed through in order to accomplish this thing. My wife toiled all summer in lending her aid towards its accomplishment. She had a hundred pounds of wool, which, with the assistance of a girl, she spun in order to furnish clothing for those engaged in the building of the Temple, and although she had the privilege of keeping half the quantity of wool for herself, as a recompense for her labor, she did not reserve even so much as would make her a pair of stockings; but gave it for those who were laboring at the house of the Lord. She spun and wove and got the cloth dressed, and cut and made up [it] into garments, and gave them to those men who labored on the Temple; almost all the sisters in Kirtland labored in knitting, sewing, spinning, &c., for the purpose of forwarding the work of the Lord, while we went up to Missouri to endeavor to reinstate our brethren on their lands, from which they had been driven. Elder Rigdon when addressing the brethren upon the importance of building this house, spake to this effect, that we should use every effort to accomplish this building by the time appointed, and if we did, the Lord would accept it at our hands, and on it depends the salvation of the church and also of the world.—Looking at the sufferings and poverty of the church, he frequently used to go upon the walls of the building both by night and day and frequently wetting the walls with his tears, crying aloud to the Almighty to send means whereby we might accomplish the building.—After we returned from our journey to the west, the whole church united in this undertaking, and every man lent a helping hand. Those who had no teams went to work in the stone quarry and prepared the [p.205]stones for drawing to the house. President Joseph Smith jr. being our foreman in the quarry. The Presidency, High Priests, and Elders all alike assisting.—Those who had teams assisted in drawing the stone to the house. These all laboring one day in the week, brought as many stones to the house as supplied the masons through the whole week. We continued in this manner until the walls of the house were reared. The committee who were appointed by revelation to superintend the building of the house, were Hyrum Smith, Reynolds Cahoon, and Jared Carter.—These men used every exertion in their power to forward the work.
On the 22nd of December a Grammar school was opened in Kirtland, under the superintendence of Sidney Rigdon and William E. McLellin teachers,—and nearly all the elders and myself, and many of the sisters commenced going to school. Most of us continued about six weeks, when a meeting was called for the camp of Zion to be assembled, to receive what was called a Zion’s blessing. After being assembled, the Presidency having duly organized the meeting, told us there were twelve men to be chosen, to be called the twelve apostles or travelling high council. See Book of Covenants sec. 43 paragraphs 5 and 6 as follows: “And now behold there are others who are called to declare my gospel, both unto Gentile and unto Jew; yea even twelve; and the twelve shall be my disciples, and they shall take upon them my name; and the twelve are they who shall desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart, they are called to go into all the world, to preach my gospel unto every creature; and they are they who are ordained of me to baptize in my name, according to that which is written. And now I speak unto the Twelve; Behold my grace is sufficient for you: you must walk uprightly before me and sin [p.206]not.—And behold you are they who are ordained of me to ordain priests and teachers to declare my gospel according to the power of the Holy Ghost which is in you, and according to the callings and gifts of God unto men: and I Jesus Christ your Lord and your God have spoken it. These words are not of men nor of man but of me; wherefore you shall testify they are of me and not of man; for it is my voice which speaketh them unto you: and by my power you can read them one to another, and save it were by my power you could not have them: wherefore you can testify that you have heard my voice and know my words.
Sec. 6. And now behold I give unto you Oliver Cowdery and also unto David Whitmer, that you shall search out the Twelve who shall have the desires, and their works, you shall know them: and when you have found them, you shall shew these things unto them. And you shall fall down and worship the Father in my name: and you must preach unto the world saying, you must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ: for all men must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ: for all men must repent and be baptized, and not only men, but women, and children who have arrived to the years of accountability.” Also Book of Covenants sec. 3. par 12. “The Twelve are a travelling presiding high council, to officiate in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Presidency of the church agreeably to the institutions of heaven, to build up the church, and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nations; first unto the Gentiles and secondly unto the Jews.” This was the day appointed for choosing. Accordingly the Presidents mentioned in the revelation above, proceeded to call forth those whom the Lord had manifested by his spirit to them, that they might make known their desires. It was far from my expectation of being one of the number, as heretofore I had known nothing about it, not having had the privilege of seeing the revelations, as they were not printed. I will now mention their names as they were first chosen: Lyman Johnson, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, David W. Patten, Luke Johnson, William E. McLellin, Orson Hyde, William Smith, John F. Boynton, Orson Pratt, Thomas B. Marsh, and Parley P. Pratt. After having expressed our feelings on this occasion, we were severally called into the Stand, and there received our ordinations, under the hands of Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris: These brethren ordained us to the apostleship, and predicted many things which should come to pass, that we should have power to heal the sick, cast out devils, raise the dead, give sight to the blind, have power to remove mountains, and all things should be subject to us through the name of Jesus Christ, and angels should minister unto us, and many more things too numerous to mention. After we had been thus ordained by these brethren, the first presidency laid their hands on us, and confirmed these blessings and ordination, and likewise predicted many things which should come to pass.—After being chosen there being but nine of us present, we assembled from time to time as opportunity would permit, and received such instruction as the Lord would bestow upon us, and truly he blessed us with his spirit, and inspired his prophet to speak for our edification. One evening when we were assembled to receive instruction, the revelation contained in the third section of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, on Priesthood was given to Brother Joseph as he was instructing us, and we praised the Lord. Sunday morning April 5, 1835.—The Twelve had not all as yet been together for the last three mentioned were not present at the time of choosing, and [p.208]as the time drew near that we should travel to the east, we appointed this day to bear our testimony unto our brethren and friends. We were all assembled together with the exception of Brother Orson Pratt who had not yet been with us.—At this time while we were praying, and wishing for his arrival, while opening the meeting he entered the house, we rejoiced at his presence, and thanked the Lord for it. He was then ordained, and we proceeded to speak according to our ages; the eldest speaking first. This day Brother Thomas B. Marsh, B. Young, D. W. Patten, and myself spake. Sunday 12. Brothers O. Hyde, Wm. E. McLellin, Luke Johnson, and P. P. Pratt spake. Sunday 19. Brothers Wm. Smith, O. Pratt, J. F. Boynton, and Lyman Johnson spake— closing the testimony of the Twelve to the people in Kirtland for the present. Sunday 26. We received our charge from President Joseph. May 3. We bid our brethren farewell, and on the morning of the 4th we started leaving Kirtland at 2 o’clock and proceeded to Fairport, where we arrived precisely at 6 o’clock. A boat was there as had been predicted by Brother Joseph on which we embarked for Dunkirk, where we arrived the same day at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, distance 150 miles. We staid over night at Mr. Pemberton’s inn.
1. For readers wishing to follow the route of Zion’s Camp, see my “Zion’s Camp March from Ohio to Missouri, 1834,” The Ensign (April 1979): 45-49; Discovering Mormon Trails (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1979); or Historic Sites and Markers Along the Mormon and Other Great Western Trails (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988). See also Roger D. Launius, Zion’s Camp (Independence, MO: Herald Publishing House, 1984).