Zerah Pulsipher Autobiographical Sketch #2

This autobiographical sketch forms the basis of the typescript that has most commonly been distributed as Zerah Pulsipher’s History, with additions taken from the Zerah Pulsipher Autobiographical Sketch #3 (a later draft of Zerah’s autobiographical sketch). It seems to have been written somewhere between 1857 and 1860, as it concludes with the army being stationed at Camp Floyd in present tense.

Typescript prepared by Chad L. Nielsen, September 2019. Spelling, punctuation and paragraphs retained as presented in the original. See Church History Library in Salt Lake City, MS_753_f0001_item_1-Record_book_circa_1858-1878.



Zerah Pulsipher History

I was born June 24th AD 1789 The names of my Parents were John & Elisabeth Pulsipher My Grand father David Pulsipher I suppose to be a decendant from Ireland I have not much Knowledge of his ancestors But he removd from Connecticut About the 1769 But Previous to that he Cam[e] to a new state Cald Vermont to the Town Cald Rockingham on Connecticut River near Bellows falls an entire new Country then saught a location about five miles west of Bellows falls there he purchasd five hundred acres of Land and predicted a site for a town and Town business a Large Meting house and Burying ground and many other things from fifty to one Hundred years before they Transpired which have all taken place to the Letter I suppose My great Grand father to be a decendant from Ireland and as above observd he Establishd a settlement and Converted the Wilderness into a fruitful <field> Built apublic House which remaind for many years But when the Revolution war Commencd my Father was young & being away from home one day he Heard that the British Army had destroyd some Miitary stores at Concord N Hampshire and being fird with Indignation he saught for a recruiting officer and enlisted for one Campaign and when he returnd home informd his father of the Circumstances. The old gentleman Told him that he was too young and that he would Enlist and go with him acordingly he did and they both went to Boston MS and was in the Memorable Battle of Bunkers hill the 17th of June AD 1775 there they stood and faught side & side with about Thirteen Americans against Three Thousand of the British for about two hours when the Enemy after firing Charleston and wending round under the smoak had Nearly surrounded that wing of the our army when they saw but a small gap to retreat through which was then continualy Plowing the ground with Balls from the shiping – but while they were going out my grand father saw one of our men wounded and crawling away on his hands & knees in the mean time a British <soldier> ran him through with a Bayonet being fild with indignation at such u<n>hal♢ed [unhallowed] breach of the laws of all civilized nations he immediately stopd amid the scenes of Death and Carnage loaded his gun and shot that man down before he left the ground and then obtained a safe retreat I speak this to let my Posterity know that <our> ancestors were Clothd with that steady unshaken Deliberation in times of the most [p.2] of the most iminent dangers that are incident to human life in a few weeks after this my grand Father Died with Cramp R[h]eumatism in [his] Breast My Father servd his Time out and returnd home and attended to the Cares of a Family Married Elisabeth Dutton, and raisd a family of seven sons and three Daughters. My oldest Brothers Name was Oliver who raisd a large <family> in the State of New York on Lake Ontario the second was David who raisd a family Living with my father in VT when he Died John also Married but had no children Salmon [Solomon] Married and Died in the war o 1812 <with> England without children I am the Next have Raisd a large family Elijah has Raisd a family Araunah the sevnth has a family My oldest sister Elisabeth Married and raisd a family by a man by the name of Lord E[llison] Archer[.] Polly my 2nd sister Married a man by the name of Dexter Newton raisd family in the state of New hampshire My sister sibbel Married a man by the name of Abram Newbury and lives in the state Ioway [Iowa] My Father was Absolute in his Family Government Kind and affectionate to all his friends His Common Practice was to Make a feast once in a year and invite some of the poorest People that were in the Town and seemd to take Pleasure in their Company I lived with [him] Twenty five years and never knew him to turn a Beggar away emty He lived to the age of seventy Eight & My mother to 86 But to return to my own history when I was a but a Child I frequently had seriou<s> reflections but never prayed[.] when I was a small Boy my father was taken sick for some time I was <not> much Concernd till I heard some of the Neighbors say that Mr Pulsipher must die this Put me to thinking that if my father should die that a large family of small children would be left without a head to the open world subject to many disasters that were incident to human Life I Could not bear the Thought an impresion Immediately Came to me that I must go to the Barn and there pray for his recovery I turnd and ran as fast as my Legs Could Carry me and when I got there was about to Bow down when somthing informd <me> that if I did I should dye there and never return which scared me so that I turned and ran Back as fast as I came But my Father <got well> in Heaven <the Lord> took will for the deed and restored my father to health I recolect of an <[n]othing of an> important Nature for a number of years till I think about forteen or fifteen years old when one Evening as I was sitting by the fire sied in my fathers Kitchen alone a sudden influence overpowered my mind [p.3] to such an extent that I Lost Sight of Everything on Earth for some time I never knew how long But suffise it to say<♢> I saw that it was Necessary that more preperation should be made before I should be willing to pass the Vale of Death Though I Could not be reconceld to souls Left in Hellfire to all Eternity as I had been Taught by the sectarians. Still there were some things among the sects that appeared reasonab<le> I have often heard my father Say that the sighns of Christ’s second Coming was near often seen and that he would Come before many years should pass away and if he did not live to see it Likely his Children would However when I was about Twenty one I married avery agreable Companion Lived with her but about one year when she died Leaving one Child which <we> named Harriet[1] After the death of my wife I had some anxiety about her state and Condition Consequently in answer to my desires in afew weeks she came to me in Vision and appeard very natural Lookd pleasent as she ever did and sat by my side and assisted me in singing a hymn beginning thus That glorious day is drawing nigh when Zions light shal shine.[2] This she did with a seeming composure this Vision took away all the anxiety of my mind Concerning her in as much as she seemd to Enjoy herself well This hymn which she Introducd and sang with me applyd to the great work of the Last days in the Last dispensation of the fulness of times This transpired about Ten years <before> Joseph Smith had discoverd the first Revelation of the work of of Last days My mind became Calm a respected her Condition in the spirit world In the year 1814 I hired a farm at Bellows falls on Connetticut River and being alone I agave my Brother John the privelig [privilege] to work it with <me>. In the fall of that season there were the most Extraordinary Northern Lights that I had Ever seen it was the Caus of many speculative notions among the people but my father said it was the signs of the Last days and of Christs second Coming of Christ I regarded my fathers remark as specimens of good sense I soon wound up my business in that country and went to PA in Susquehannah County a new <Country> where there were much good timber I Built a mill cleard a farm and Married a Wife by the name of Mary Brown a very agreable companion by whoom I have a Large family of kind Children I staid in that Country about Eight years and Labored very hard and Many times my Life was Much Exposd but I staid in that country as bove above about 8 years and then removd to Onondaga County in State of Newyork I there lost [p.4] my only son by the fall of a tree which causd much greef to me in that plac[e] I had many agreeable friends and good society I Baght a farm and built a mill I also built a meting hous for the Baptist Church which I then associated with[.] in the summer of 1831[3] I heard a Minister say that an Ancient Record or golden Bible <was found> in Manchester near Palmyra which remark struck me Like a shock of electricty at the same time that it might be somthing that would give light to my mind upon principles that I had been thinking of for years and many times I had remarkd that If the pure Church with its gifts and graces was not on the Earth, if so I had not found it, But I<f I> should be happy enough to find <it> in my day they would not <think> hard of me if I embracd it accordingly in the fall of 1831 there was a Book of Mormon brought into Town I succeeded in getting it I directly read it through twice, gave it a Thorough investigation and Believed it was true and the winter following Jerod Carter <came> that way from a mission to VT or Lake George as soon as he came into town I with two Methodist Preachers went to see him after a reasonable introduction I questioned him upon the Principles of the Ancient gospel with all its gifts Belonging to it if he believed it he answerd in the affirmative I asked him if he obeyed those Principles he said he did I asked him if he had ever Laid hands on the sick and they had recovered yes sd [said] he in many i[n]stances he Preachd the folloing evening to a crouded Congregation held up the Book of [Mormon] and Declared it to be a Revelation from god I Could not gainsay any thing he had said he sat down and gave Liberty for remarks the Congregation seemd to be in a maze not knowing what to to think of what they had heard I arose and sd to the Congregation that we have been hearing strang things and if true they were of the utmost importan[ce] to us if not true it was one of the greatest Impositions and as the Preacher had sd that he had got his Knowledge from heaven and was Nothing but a man and I the same that I had Just as good a right to obtain that Blesing as he therefore I was determined to have that knowledge for my self which I Considered it My Privilege from that time I made it a matter of fervent Prayer I think about the sevent[h] day as I was thrashing in my barn with doors shut all at once there seemd to be a ray of Light from heaven which causd me to stop work for a short time [p.5] but soon began it again but in a few minints another Light Came above my head which Causd me to Look up I thought I saw the angels with <the> book of Mormon in their hands in the attitude of shoing it to me and saying this is the great Revelation of the Last days in which all thing spoken of by the Prophets must be fulfild The Vision was so open and plain that I began to rejoice Exceedingly so that I walkd the the length of my barn Crying glory hallalujah to god and the Lamb forever for some time and it seemd a little difficult to keep my mind in a proper state <of> reasonable order I was so filld With the joys of heaven But when my mind became calm I cald the Church Together and informd them of what I had seen my Determination to join the Church of latter day Saints which I did and a Large Body of that Church went with me I was ordaind to the office of an elder and went to Preaching with considerable success at home and abroad at length there came one or two Elders there with Enthusiastic spirits which led the Church into division which causd me a Journey of 325 miles to get a council to settle the dificulty.[4] I remaind in that [place] Preaching in the regions around with Privilege of Baptizing <many> into [the] Kingdom till the spring=1835 in which I gathered up the Remnants of that Church and went to Kirtland there assisted Building the Temple in <the> winter of 1836 I receivd my first endowment in that house with about 300 Elders I labored to support my family In the fall =37 <1837> I went to Canada on a mission raisd a Branch of 29 Members returned Janry =38 to Kirtland was ordaind to the Council of the first Presidency of the Seventies in the season following there arose a great Persecution the saints that were able escaped in the best manner they could Joseph was Carried away in a box naild <up> on an ox sled to save his life[5] Old Father Joseph Smith was taken out of a window in the night and sent away [on] Horseback after the most of the saints were gone to Missouri I remaind in Kirtland with about four of the first President of seventies we Continued to hold our metings in the Temple Accordingly while we were at meting one Sunday we took a notion to put our Property to gether and remove in that way and when we had made that calculation we felt a great flow of the spirit of of god not withstanding the great inconvenience we Labored under for want for means to move ourselves and many poor that were yet Remaining that had neither Clothing nor teams to go with But when they heard that we were going together and would help one another they wanted [p.6] to Join us and get out of that Hell of Persecution Therefore we could not Reject them for all there was against them [was] that they were poor and could not help them selves we Continued to receive them Till we got Between five and six hundred on our hand and acording to our covenant we had got them to move on stay there with them so we found we had got a Job on hand we councild together from time to time on the subject <and> come to conclusion that we could not effect the Purpose short of the Marvalous power of god by the power of the Priesthood Therefore we Concluded it best to go into the Temple in the atick story and pray that our father would open the way and give us means to gather with the saints in Missoury which was near one thousand miles acordingly one day while we were on our Knees in prayer I saw a Mesenger apearently like an old man with grey hair down to his shoulders he was a very Large man near seven feet high Drest in a while <robe> down to his ancles he Lookd on me then turnd his eyes on the others and other to me and spoke and said be one and you shall have enough this gave us great Joy we immediately advisd the Breathren to scatter and work for anything that they Could get that would be usefil in moving to a new Country some went to making staves to sell on the Lake shore among which I was one. I think it was in the month of March that I was at work in the woods about Nine O clock in the morning There appeared to be a mighty rattling of waggons at the south I supposd it must be as much as a Dozen wagons rattling on Pebblestones it Continued to draw nearer till I discovered it to be in the air and as it drew I heard the sound of a steam boat Puff till past immediately over our heads <X> and went on about 1 mile to Kirtland Temple there it appeard in the form of a steam boat Loaded with Pasengers with Old elder Beamen[6] who was the President of the Elders had annointed them a few months before but had been dead a short time he was in the Bow of the boat singing and swinging his hat till it Came in front of the temple it then Divided in two parts the one was Black the other white the white went west and the Black went North The explanation of Phenomenon we saw with much Clearness when within a few months from that time there was a division of the authorities of the Church Viz. a number of the Twelve and first presidents of seventies Decented [dissented] and Led many after them but the pure in heart went west But as observd above while were attending to our prayers in the Temple from time to time there was a Curious Circumstance transpired [p.7] there stood a methodist meting house stood a few rods from <the> Temple which took fire one night and Burnt to ashes the same night there was a Brand of fire thrown into the Temple at a window that went out the most of the People being very hostile the Mob Laid the Charge of burning the house to the council of seventies there was no Doubt but they fird [fired] it them<selves> hoping by that means to get a pretext for our for our destruction but we knew we were inocent and trusted in god for salvation[7] we Continued our Cours stedily along and paid no attention to them there was a univers<al> determination that we should never Leave that place a company and they <knew> as well as we <knew> that <the> poor could not go out alone therefore they had a deep plot Laid for our Destruction But we knew where our hope was grounded and kept our steady coarse a<nd> sd we would go out in a company well organized this they were strenuously opposd to But as I Related to the burning of that house they raged to a great exten becaus most of them suposd that we had actually done it But as the Lord Dictated the great Leader of that Mob who had once been a mormon[8] and well calculated to carry out his helish designs was held by the Power of god so that he had a vision and saw those that fired the house and seemd to be greatly astonishd for a while and then met with the Mob and informed them that it was not that Council that burnt the house and he knew who it was but dare not tell on acount of the Law becaus he could prove only be Vision which they would not believe and still swore vengance on us but he swore by all the gods that Lived that he would have revenge on them if they hurt a hair of our heads And as he had a Large store of goods and could swear and get Drunk he <had> some influence with them So that we were preservd by the hand of god obtaind Money clothd the company and the 4th day of July this man that had Led the Mob invited me to tak[e] all our teams and company and camp in <a> Clover field which was about 1 <foot> high I thankd him and embracd the offer the next day we all went out all in order as we sd we would in the Beginning with about 65 Teams and seventy Cows. Nothing of any extraordinary nature transpired for some weeks till we got to daton [Ohio] and got out of Money the <people> would Take nothing of us but money for our expenses and at a high price too we went into Council and prayed to god for money and Provision Acordingly the Lord sent a Turnpike Jober after us to get us to do a Job for him we therefore agred with for a Job of Twelve hundred Dollars which we [p.8] Did in good order with his acceptance he then wanted us to do another job it was then very dry and the wells so low that it was difficult to get water for our animels in the Dry part of the Country if we should gon on But we enquired of Lord for what was best and we were imprest to go on not Knowing that what we should do for drink but the day following there fell such a flood of water that the Low places in the country were full and we got along very well when we got into Illinois a few of our company stopt and in the further of Illinois Joseph Young with a few others <stopt> the Remainder of us went on Continually hearing reports that there was war in Missouri and if we went on we should be killd by the Mob but we went in good order keeping good gards all the time when we arrived we arrived within five miles of far west which was the Metropolis of the Church in Missouri there Joseph & Hirum Met us greatly Pleasd that we had arrived with so Large a Company they Conducted us on to far west a wishd to camp around the Temple suller [celler] as they had it dug. in the Morning the first of Octbr 1838 Joseph came to me a<nd> sd he wesd [wished] me to take that Company and go to davies County about 25 miles North which would take us two days and advisd us to gard our <wagons in>the night I informd [him] that his advis was good but we had not been without a gard since we left Kirtland However we went on to [the] place appointed and found a few breathren there surrounded by Numerous Mobs Being greatly rejoicd to see us come and <we> were as glad to get through for we had been on the road with a large poor Company from the 5th of July to the 3rd of Octbr suffering the perrils of a hard Journey for near one thousand miles among a hostile people But <the> Lord had braught [thought] to try us to see what our faith was made of we expected we had got home where we could Locate our families and prepare to Build up Zion therefore we sold our Loose property for improvements subject to preemtion [preemption] rights[9] the People round being much opposd to our faith desired to drive us out of the Country and obtain their farms again that we had paid them for and to carry out this they began to Burn their houses and then go to governor and swear that we had drove them out of their settlements and burnt their Buildings Davies Co was a beautiful place situated on grand river the first rate Land and plenty of good timber where we supposd there had been an ancient citty of the Nephites as the hewn stone were already there in piles also the Mount or ater [alter] built by father <Adam> where to offer sacrifices when he was old Leaning upon [p.9] his staff Prophesying the Most Noted thing that should take place down to the Latest generation therefore it was Calld Adam on diamon there we staid about a month Being Continualy annoyed by Mobs and thieves stealing everything that they Could lay ther upon that belongd to people of our Church in the time I was there I assisted to build sixteen houses and the Longest that I lived in one was four day I had a Large family with an aged Mother I think I never slept many Nights while I was there without having my sword and pistols by my bed and frequently Cald by the Sound of the Beagle to rise and defend the people from mobs yet all the while are expected to stay there and by faith and worke retain our place till one day there came two mesengers from far west and informd us that Joseph with others of the authorities of the Church at far west were delivered into the hands of the Mob and that they the Mob had three Thousand men and the word from Joseph to us was that they would be Likely to come here soon and advisd us to Lay away our arms go to ur work and submit to any thing that they should say this shook us with a great depression of spirit not knowing how to comprehend the ways of god we had expected to stay there Locate our families and Preach the gospel but we were disapointed and might afect us we knew not and were Left in a perfect state of suspen<se> But we knew nothing than to abide by the word of the Prophet but in this Conflict of feeling I walkd away from the Company w[h]ere I had received the above information  I walkd towards a grave and sead [said] in the a[n]guish of my soul Lord what does all these things mean the answer to me was instantaneous though unexpected be still and know that I am god in a moment I was at rest and happy in my Condition I retuned imediately back to the Company that had Left and said to them have no fear for god would provid a way for our Escape also that we trusted in him But if we had not recd [received] word from Joseph we should have been very Likely to have sent hundreds of them to hell acrost Lots for there were about 130 of of us well armd there was but one place where they would be likely to Cross the river in a Line exactly in front of our Cannon well Loaded with small slugs of iron we had not only our houses Lands wives and Children but the Cause of god to fight for. But the Lord sd be still and know that I am god Therefore we were quiet bear the afflictions that were Laid upon us we went to our Labors soon after this I with about thirty persons went acrost the river <about> three miles to gather corn when 800 of the Mob was seen Coming upon us as they came up to the gate where we were at work they halted and sent a messenger to inform us that we their Prisoners [p.10] I happened to be on a load the nearest to <them> to the they directed their attention to me and sd we must go with them I observd to them that we were there gathering for our famelies and catle which they were then in nead of they then sd we might fill our waggons give them some boys to drive home and we go with them Accordingly we did they went about a mile and halted we were surrounded by a strong gard for some time and then Discharged and sent home to await their <trip> into town we <had> not gone more than fifty or one hundred rods before we heard a Voley of guns fired I would <think> from fifty to one hundred the Balls came their among us we Lookd around and saw a Company supposd to be one hundred men paraded a little to <the south> of the main Camp they also gave a second shot we kept a stedy walk as though nothing had hapened for they hurt none of us we went home the same day into diammon [they] took all arms from the people and then put a strong gard around us that time we were often insulted by scoundrels in the shape of men which Brought us near a fight But the commander stopt it. However <they> Prowld around there for a number of days and then gave us ten days to get out of that place for the Mob would be Let Loose upon us this had been the case all the time but Now we had nothing to defend ourselves with Besides that there were many poor people that [had] no teams and many widows that had nothing but small children I immediately got my horses shod and took my family a widow and family another family all to one Load and Moved to far west then Returnd back after anoth[er] family this was among the Last that went of out while the Mob were Prowling about stealing all horses they Could find but altho I was alone the Last night that I staid in the I Lay down by the side of my horses and saved them and went the next day and got the other family and Carried them to far west this was the Last of November we were all Destitute of grain or feed for our teams our fields of corn were 20 miles of[f] among the Mobs as was allso what few cattle we had but the Most of our corn was destroyd before we could get it we therefore had hard living through winter after I had obtaind a little meal for my family I went away up to the Platt Country with my team to get work for money to Move out of the state in the spring as the Edict of the governor was that we should never raise any more crops in that state I obtained some money I obtaind some money and returnd to my family but while I was gone I was obledg [obliged] to stay at at a Mob Tavern one night alone where they were very hostile I did not like there appearance but I was obliged to stay there or run the risk of freezing on the great cold Prarie [p.11] Therefore I had to watch as well as pray But in the Later part of the <knight> I heard people in the Lower part of the house in much commotion I heard them <say> they never saw such things before they seemd to be much astonishd at what they saw in the heavens I raisd myself up in bed and lokd out out and saw a very bright Circle around the Moon with a very bright half circle at the outside of that with a very bright spot at the side of that Nearly as big big as the sun then another appearent Sun in the North west with another in the south west which gave a very extraordinary appearance this gave them such a fright that they could pay no more attention to me so I went on in peace But I prepared to move to Illinois I took My horse and rode to Richmond to get my gun that they took from me at diamon in the war I obtaind it and prepard to Move in March I Buried My mothe[r] there on adived near Plum Creek we succeeded in moving to Illinois the Last March =39 Crost the Missisippi River at Quncy I found rents of houses so high that it would be hard for a poor man with a Large family as I had to obtain a Living and get anything ahead therefore I took my horse up the River to Lyma and found a forist of about 12 miles square and considerable game in it I went into the Timber with Br Burges I Lost one horse Moving from Missouri my son in Law lost one too and had to stop among strangers with my Daughter who had given birth to a Child on the Prare but I Borrowed another hors went to Ilinois with my family and then returnd for the Remainder But as I observd we went into Bear Creek timbe[r] and with one hors and our hands built thee houses Cleard 13 acres of Land and put it into crops but we had nothing to Live on till the cropt were ripe Br Burges and boys were strong to <work> out but I was not able to do so on account of the exposures that I had past Therefore I could not do a days work in a day Knew not how to obtain food for my family while hesitating upon these things I dreamd that I was going to making boxes and measures and also dreamd how to make a fraim to turn them in and Dreamd that my women and Children were making Baskets and that I went to sell them in the Morning I went found som Excellent timber for that purp<ose> and made the fraim acording to the pattern that I had seen and also found some timber sutable for Baskets the women went to work acording their strength with me we soon obtaind a small Load and I went out into the old settlement and sold them directly and [for] every kind of Provision that we wanted to Live upon and some Money. in this way we got along till harvest this season one of our Neighbors from Nauvoo came for help in in sickness and informd us that there was not well ones enough to take care of the sick I sent my Daughter & sister there to help [p.12] <=39> take care of the sick I promisd them that I would Come to Conference and See them Acordingly when the time came I took my carreage and went up went first to the place where my Daughter was found the <house> shut up windows Curtain Drawn I knockt at the door a faint voice answerd I went in and found a large family and every person Laying Prostrate my daughter was the Last one that Came down and she had been down about one week having the whole family to Nurs Night and <day> she could not endure it but when I interd the house she heard my Voice and sprang from the bed in a moment and sd father have y[ou] come I want to go home I told her get Ready and I would go and Look for my sister I went where she was and found her and the family in the same situation I put a bed into the Carreag [carriage] and went home the same day and Nursd them three month Before I Could <heal> them It was thought that my daughter would die but I did not give her up but I was Cald to the bed one <day to> see her close her eyes in death I went to her bed side and saw her apearantly breathing her Last at that instant the spirit of god came upon me I sd Mariah do you want to live to rais a family keep the Commandments of god and do all you can to build up Zion she instantly opened her eyes and sd she did I sd to her then you shal Live the hour she sat up in in bed and immediately got well as did also my sister[.] after we had Lived <in> this place near two years Joseph requested the first presidents of the <Seventies> to come to Nauvoo I being of that number immediately repaird to Nauvoo and Located in its Vicinity Made a farm livd Comfortably and assisted in Building a temple But the Missouri Mobs were continually seeking the Life of Br Joseph I think there had been resing of forty <suits> raisd against him without success but finally came to the conclusion <=44> that the Law Could not reach him but powder and <ball> should therefore they organized a Mob of about two hundred men got a fictitious writ put him in Carthage Jail <with> Dokt Richards Hirum Smith and John Taylor the Mob came broke the Jail shot Joseph & hirum and wounded John Taylor This being done it gave us a hard shock and Causd much mourning however we finishd the temple and received our endowments Persecution Continually ra<g>ed against the Church they thought best to and go to a more secluded Land acordingly in Janry =46 I had Notic[e] to be ready at three days notice to Leave on account of Many fictitious writs that were coming out to destroy the Church at length I had the notice and started with [a] good team the second day of Feb Crost the Misisippi River and went as far as sugar Creek till the Cold [p.13] weather Brok with about 500 of the heads of the heads of the Church I went Back once gave my son orders to sell what Property he could and take the family and follow as soon as the spring opened we went on from Shugar Creek in the spring but <storms> and tempests opposd our march till Late in the Season I went on with them and frequently went forward to Pineer [pioneer] the way and organize places for the poor to stop that was not able to go any farther and in May I took my team and went back to meet my family and found them in Lee County with two <team> a few Cows and a few sheep my sacrifice there was about Two thousand dollars but we went on and crost the Misouri River that season and Establishd a place Cald winter quarters that fall & winter which was =46 and =47 the Church suffered Excedingly when we got there we found so many sick and dying by exposure that I took my team and what help that I could rais and drew timber four miles and built six houses before I Left off then was Obliged to go down to Missouri for Provision was gone about 6 week in winter camping out exposd to all the storms that is common in that season of year I Brought home what I Could when I got home I was so far exhausted by exposure that I Could not walk one step without two Crutches I then sent My boys again while I took Care of the Cattle which amounted to eighteen head many times while I went on two Cruches to get on my horse then rode all day to save my Cattle from the indians who were Continually kiling them That winter was a sorroful time for the Church 500 of our young men were demanded by the general government through the influence of Old Tom Benton who was a noted Mober in the first Missouri persecution and was then in the senate[10] this Left the Church with old men Children and many poor women while there husbans were fighting the Battles of the united states There were not well people enough to take Care of the sick and dying my Boys Continued to team through the winter till they both Came home sick John was Laid on the bed and was near the gate of death for a long time when I was Cald in to see [him] breath his Last he was taken with Hicups what many people think to be certain signs of death he Lookd very much Like it to be sure when I came in the Doctor and my family stood around the bed I Cald to him and he opend his eyes I said John you are not a going to Die now I cannot spare you now you must get well to help us move through the mountains he immdiatley began to Vomit a large quantity of the most filthy matter I ever saw come from any persons stomach a black allmost as ink from that hour he began to recover and soon got able to drive a team[.] in the spring of =48 Br Brigham organized a company for of about fifty wagons and we started for Salt Lake with Common [p.14] we arrived in the Valey about the twenty third of Septbr with all our Stock except the sheep them we Lost at winter quarters we immediately prepared to build I found grain scarce and hard to get John Kneff was building a mill the only one in the Valey I sold three <cows> to pay his workmen that I might get grain after he got his mill <to running> to I went to him for $20 in grain but he sd he could not Let anyone have more that half that sum and that was not half what I had paid for this made me feel very disagreable because I had a Large family and three other families of my friends that had no way of helping them selves and money would not buy it I thought on it one Night and then Come to the Conclusion that I would build another and take a part of the toll of the grain that was in the Valey acordingly I ralied my help went onto the mill site dug a hole in the bank to live in through the <inter> about <the> first of Decbr and <we> commencd getting timber without feed for our Cattle and but Little for ourselves and when we got a stich of we had men to fraiming it we Continued our Labor with about half rations upon all the different Branches of the <work> till the first of march when we got the grist mill started and timber out for a saw mill when done. I ground for one sixteenth while the <other> ground for one twe[l]th from that time we had Bread to eat with all our families. I have <seen> of the hand of <god> in preserving ourselves and Cattle while the snow was three feet deep in the Caneon where we got the timber and some of the time more than one <foot> in the valey and we had not as much fodder as could be carried to one Load and when I Lookd upon the circumstances I could not Comprehend it in any other principle but to the maraclus [miraculous] Power of god in sustaining them

1850 This was a hard season for many as observd above after we got our Mill running we had enough but Lived Prudent on account of so many that had none. indian meal would Command $5.00 per bushel but so many poor had none that I sold all I had to spare at $1.50 cts per bushel though I was offered five dollars by those that were going to California but their <gold> would not buy it of me when so many poor were starving there were some informd <me> that they had not any Bread in their <houses> for six weeks and came to me to buy Bran but I sold none but gave them that. This scarce time Causd people to scratch for Life to raise grain but the Crickets were very troublesome and destroyd many crops in =51 But in =52 the guls came and destroyd <them> acording to the word of the Profit. But to return to my history we finishd the grist Mill and the following season finishd the saw mill this gave us a chance [p.15] To Build Acordingly we Built a house 34 by 40 on the Corner of Block 82 on Jordan street the Next season we built a Large Barn and made a farm over Jorden two miles off which gave us a good Chance to keep Cattle there was nothing <then> of a very extraordinary nature with exception of Br Brigham Preachd continualy to bring the Church to obedience but they were groing rich and careless Till about the time of the Octbr Conference in =56 when I understood Br Brigham to say that the Lord would wait no Longer I think he did not define what Chastisment god would inflict but sufice it to say I had a Clear testimony that some uncommon event was near at hand but I was not aware that I had become so dull and careless relative to my duty Till Br Kimbal Cald on me in public to awake to awake to my duty I began to Call more fervently on the Lord I soon saw that Br Kimbal was right and that I was holding a high and responsible station in the Church and asleep with many others Br grant who was one of Brighams council was authorized to Preach repentance to the people and to a good effect I with the associates of my Council went Before Br Brigham and informd him that if he knew of any others that would take our presidency better Magnify it for the intrest of the Kingdom than we Could he was perfectly at Liberty to Do so but he told us to go and magnify our caling ourselves there was much Confesing among the People of their faults Br Brigham gave some strong prophetic Language Relative to <the> united states of america I think not far from this the President and Congres<s> became very hostile to us and <seamd> to have Design <to> form us like themselves or destroy us Therefore they sent an army to bring us too or destroy us but we thought it not best to bring them in among us becaus we did not Like their hostile spirit nor their habits therefor we sent a few of our young men to meet them which Brought them to a stand for further consideration in the spring folloing all of the North part of the Territory removd south till the arm past through to their quarter at Camp floid But Previous to this The President and Congress saw their Mistak in sending the Army here Notwithstanding they had Chargd us with Treason and Many other offenses They sent Commissioners here forgave all our sins against them and wishd peace and Tranquility accordingly we all movd back to our possessions Peacefully in the mean time we were rather Destitute of Clothing but speculators folloed the army and brought More goods to the Valey than was ever brought Before so that this people were decently Clothed all this we considered direct from the hand of god to supply our wants But evils have followed the army such a herd of abominable <caracters> have Come [p.16] in the wake that Lying Horeing [whoring] gambling robing stealing murdering till it seemd as thoug they were determined to break up all Law and order in the Territory They Brought with them much Spurious Liquor which still furtherd them in their abominations and <many> of our people who were weak Joind with them in their wickedness especially the rising generation who imbibed their habits this gave us some trouble to Labour and keep the Church in order

[1] Harriet Pulsipher Picket, 1811-1878.

[2] This was a hymn published in a few Baptist hymnals around that time.

[3] Other records indicate that this may have occurred in 1830. See Pulsipher, Zerah. “Zerah Pulsipher autobiographical sketch,” undated. MS 753.3. Church History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah (Autobiographical Sketch #1). Silas Hillman (another Spafford resident who converted to the Church) recalled that, “a man by the name of [Solomon] Chamberlain came there [Spafford] bringing the Book of Mormon. He gave a history of its origin, how it was obtained, and its translation.” (Journal of Silas Hillman, cited in Rhean Lenore M. Beck, Life Story of Sarah (King) Hillman and Her Husband, Mayhew Hillman [unpublished manuscript, 1968], 8.). Events in Solomon Chanberlain’s life indicate that it was most likely in the summer or fall of 1830 that he visited Spafford.

[4] In a different version of his autobiography, Zerah related that: “In the fall =32 there was some division in the Church in Consequence of teaching from an Elder that went through there which Teaching I rejected. (the Teaching was that women should have the gift of seeing that they Might be able to discover the Mistakes that the Elders might make from time to time and furthermore that they might actually see what was in <their> hearts and if <they> had <any> hypocrisy to declare it before the Church to <this> Calling I understood he ordaind a number of the sisters who made use of this power to the condemning of some a Justifying others without any other testimony) This causd me a Journey to Kirtland Ohio 325 miles in <the> month Decbr to get a council of high Priests that would be able to try the spirits to the satisfaction of all the honest in heart I went to Kirtland as quick as I could traveled in the mud by day and rode in the stage at night arrived at that place the Last of Decbr. they immediately Calld a Conference and sent R[eynolds] Cahoon and D[avid] Patten who came with Leonard Rich and set things in order.” (Pulsipher, Zerah. “Zerah Pulsipher autobiographical sketch,” undated. MS 753.3. Church History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.)

[5] Zerah Pulsipher is most likely incorrect here. Joseph Smith’s history states that: “We left Kirtland, on horseback, to escape Mob violence which was about to burst upon us.” (“History, 1838–1856, volume B-1 [1 September 1834–2 November 1838],” p. 780, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed September 8, 2019, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1838-1856-volume-b-1-1-september-1834-2-november-1838/234)

[6] Alvah Beman (Beaman), 22 May 1775 – 15 November 1837.

[7] See Warren Cowdery, “Fire!”, Painsville Republican, 31 May 1838, Vol. II No. 29 for another account of this event.

[8] Jacob Bump, 1791 – by 10 October 1865.

[9] Preemption rights were a part of land-buying processes based on laws established in 1830. They allowed impoverished settlers to acquire unsettled land at no cost until a survey was completed and the land went on sale. If they had improved and inhabited the land they settled on, they were given the first chance to purchase it. In 1838, the land in Daviess County had not been surveyed, but was due to be completed and put on sale on November 12. What Zerah suggests here (as is suggested in other accounts of the Missouri War) is that with the sale of the land coming soon, the non-Mormons in the area were incentivized to force the Latter Day Saints off the land so they could claim the land and the valuable improvements the Latter Day Saint settlers had made there before the Latter Day Saints could establish their rights of preemption.

[10] While many Latter-day Saints, like Zerah, regarded the enlistment of the Mormon Battalion with suspicion, Latter-day Saint Jesse Little and philanthropist Thomas Kane had negotiated with President James Polk to provide assistance in the exodus, and this was considered a way to provide hard cash to the Saints. The conspiracy theory of Senator Thomas Hart Benton instigating the enlistment to bring harm to the Saints was popularized when Church leaders like Daniel H. Wells, Jedediah Grant, and Brigham Young publicly advocated it during the mid-1850s in Utah.


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