Zerah Pulsipher Autobiographical Sketch #3

This autobiographical sketch is the latest of the three extant versions written by Zerah. It seems to have been written sometime after 1862, since it concludes with Zerah’s time in Hebron.

Typescript prepared by Chad L. Nielsen, October 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.



I was Born June 24th aD 1789 the names of my Parents were John & Elizabeth Pulsipher my Grand Father whose Name was David Pulsiph<er> was supposd to be a Decendant from Ireland Broug<ht> up a family in Conneticut New England in year 1769 went up Conneticut River to Bellows Falls went five miles Back to a place afterwards Calld Rocking<ham> an entire wilderness country where seldom a blow had been struck By a white man there he selected a place and obtaind five hundred acres o Land and Profecid [prophesied] things that would take place in years to come which was a site for a Meting house and Burying ground Back of it and a Town site near it where water ♢o♢er was Erected he there cleared Land Built a publick house and converted the wilderness in to a fruitful field I Left that Country Forty six years after that and when I Left there was a large Meting House Burying ground and a rich Popular Town Exact where Predictd. My father Lived in that Vicinity till he died[.] But to return after a Long Series of Trouble which this Country had with England the revolution war commencd and the <1776> Britsh army went to destroying Publick Property my Father Being about 19 years old was gone from home one day heard the News found a recruiting officer and inlisted he Come home informd his father of what he had done the man Thought on it a few moments and sd [said] John you are too young I will go with you and accordingly Enlisted and went [He] was in the Memmo[r]able Battle of Bunkers hill there the enemy Numbered three thousand and Americans Thirteen hundred they Stood and faught Side and Side till the enemy fired Charleston and went round under the Smoak [smoke] toward the americans [p.2] My father Lookd around and <saw> them nearly Surrounded by a small gap to get out and that plowing up with cannon balls from the British shiping altho a retreat had Ben ordered but they dy [did] not hear it his father Lokd [looked] round and sd it was time to run my father ran ove[r] the hill and Lookd round and did not see the old gentleman and concluded he was killed the next morning found him well he sd as he was coming out at the gap he saw an American Soldier wounded and crawling away on his hands and feet and a british soldier ran him through with the Bayonet he then stopt in the midts <where> cannon balls and grape shot were <being> Loaded his gun and shot the the pirot [pirate] down and then obtained a safe retreat I name this that my posterity may know what kind of self controll their Ancestors were governed by in the midst of the most eminent <danger> his father was taken with Cramp Rheumatism and died my father servd his time out out and Came home Married and Lived near by during his Life raisd a family of seven sons & Three Daughters I was the fourth I recollect when quite young I had some reflections upon a future state when I was Eight or Nine years of age my father was sick for some time one day I hard [heard] some of the Neighbors say that Mr Pulsipher would die this had never entered my mind that he would <die> then I reflected up it a few minits and Thought it would be very hard [to] Loose my father while a Large family of children were depending upon his support it came into my my mind to go immediately to the barn and pray for his recovery I ran to the barn as fast as my Legs Could Carry me and when I got there was about to kneel down [p.3] and somthing Told me that if I should pray I should die in a moment I Turned and ran Back as fast as I Came but the Lord took the will for the deed and my father soon recovered I do not recollect anything of importance for some years But attended school ocasionally with success as I sd I <had> occasionally thoughts of a future state when about fourteen years old in the winter while the school master was Boarding at our house I was sitting by the fire in the Kitchen somthing came upon me with such power that for a time my sensis were gone how Long I was in <that> condition I do not know But when I came to myself I was walking the room ringing my hands & crying for god to have mercy on my soul I remaind for some days in a very sorrowful state of mind it would ocationaly [occasionally] abate and then come on again it deprivd me of my studies but I would look on my Book to prevent suspicion <1800> but in a few weeks I tried to were it of[f] by going into young company Nothing of importance that I can recollect with the exception of thoughts upon sectarian Preaching who taught hell fire & Eternal Damnation in the Light they ♢♢rried <it> it I could not believe one word of it When I was about Nineteen I was the oldest boy at home I had much hard work as we did not have much but by the day we had a Large farme and I had the heaviest part to bear & in the fall we had near a thousand Bushels of apples to mak[e] into Cider and put it in the cellar I was very ambicious and by over acting I hurt myself so that I faild in the fall in the winter I went to school and got a goo Knowledge of the English grammer which with my other attainments I was considered by my Teacher Competent to enter upon the Study of Phitisick [physick][1] accordingly a surgeon [p.4] Came fifty miles after me to be his student I Took notice of the cours that he took he was a skilful Doctor and almost always gone from hom and would frequently come home the Latter part of the night and Just get warm in bed when he would be cald up to go again I reflected upon it and concluded that it would not do for me to be Bound to that kind of Life so I returnd home but my health being poor I was not able to Labor much for about two years I was Just able to walk about and ride on hors back but Could not Labor I often begrutcht [begrudged] people their happiness that they could be sick and then get well again I concluded I would go to work if it kild me an old Irish man who Lived near my father that was a good shoemaker offered me his farm <to me> on shares had got it planted and prepar<ed> for crops I being about of age I excepted [accepted] his offer and he Left home for the season. I began Labor Very moderately and when I became near fainting and my eyesight faild I wou<ld> sit down and when Come to I would get up go to work and found by that operation in a few weeks I began to gain strength and in fall folloing I could do a reasonable days work in a day that winter I married to a very agreable person whoom I lived one year <1812> she Left a daughter and died she died sudden & I had some anxiety Relative to her future state after a few weeks she came to me in Vision and set by my side and sung a hymn all Through with me the was Cald the Millenium hymn[2] after that I had no more anxiety about her I remaind single Hired a farm at Bellows falls for one year then went [to] P.A. and found a New Country with the Best Timber that ever that I ever saw There I Built a [p.5] Saw mill staid there about Eight years Rafting on the Susquhannah River I then Moved to the State of New york to Ononada [Onondaga] County and stai<d> there till the gospel Came to me by the hand of Jerad Carter Decbr =31 I went to see him and hea[r]d him Preach When he got Through sat down and gave Liberty I arose sd and to the congregatio<n> we had been hearing strange things and if true they immediately concernd us and if [not] true it was a great imposition Br Carter says that he has got this Knowledge from heaven by revelation if he has got it from Heaven I think I have the same rite to have it the same way Therefore I intend to Petition a[t the] throne of grace till I know it for myself I Therefore Continued in Prayer by Night and day soon after I was Thrashing in my Barn with the doors all shut in Cold wether there appead [appeared] a Light from above that gave me some excitement I went to work again and in a few minits another Light Came from above greatly Exceeding the first I Lookd up to see what it was it seemd that I saw angels one above another with the Book of Mormon in their hands saying this is a Revelation from god[3] I was then so fild with Joy that I walkd the Barn flore criing hallaluah to god and the Lamb for ever & ever I then knew the work was of god for mys[elf.] I informd Br Carter that I knew the work was of god (Although I had read the Book of Mormon the Septbr before an[d] Thoroughly examind it and believed it true) the folloing Evening a Deacon of the Baptist Cald at my home to stay over night I informd that I would be glad to see the Church together accordingly he cald a Church meting [p.6] I attended and informd them that I <had> found gospel that I had Been Looking for a number of years & I wanted them to dismis me that I might go free They wishd that I would still preach with them I informd them that I would But I had many places and Calls But suffise it to say that the most of that Church Came into <the> faith of the gospel I preachd in all the regions round there were soon a body of <saints> Baptized in that of near one hundred members I preachd in Various parts of the country with considable success at length there came two Profesing Mormon Preachers along with enthusiastick spirits they came near to dividing the Church which cost <me> Three hundred & twenty five mile travel to get a council it had the desired affect the Church continued to together[4] About these days there was a man with family came into the gospel Church who livd about fifteen miles from me who had a Brother in law that was possesd with a Devil and was kept Chaind in a Tight room which cost much to take care of him Numbers had been there to administer to <him> but to no effect I went there to Preach on the [l]ater part of the day the he got Lose and was breaking down the ceiling and plastering[.] they had been in a habit of geting a Very Strong man to help on such occasions and were about to send for him in a hurry[.] I desird them to let me see him before they should send they sd they were afraid he would come out <and> kill some of them with much persuasion I got to unlock the door that entered his room but of all the rough Languag and profane swearing and Treatening anyone that should come in sight I had never heard before I entreated them to let <me> open the dore [p.7] they sd he was dangerous to encounter with with but one man I had full Confidenc[e] that I could handle him by the help that god would give me I was satisfied that they did not understand my intentions but I Look thoug the Crak of the door when he caught my Eye he Bawld out and sd old Pulsipher I know you of old at that instant I burst the door open he stood with a sharp stick in his hand drawn back ready to stab me altho he was a stout man and full of Violent pashion I Cloesd [closed] in with him so quick that he did not know which side was up till he Lay on his back and I holding him while they Bound him again the family seemd a little supprisd however, before I Left the next morning the man whose name Samuel Newcomb wishd me to come and stay with him one year and he would give me Large wagers for he said that I could handle him with eas and when he was gone from home he would leave his family with more safety as he was a man of considerable Business and property to manage I asked him if he wisd [wished] to gather up to Kirtland with the Church as that was the gathering <plase> then he sd he would if he could sell his farm I asked him how much he wanted for his farm he sd he would sell it for sixteen hundred Dollars I sd will you go Next spring if you can get that sum for your farm he sd I will then sd I you shall have it and I engaged with <him> on them condition and Took the whole Care of the wild man I recollect at one time when the Mother of the wild was feeding him he flew into a rage all at once and broke Loose and endangerd her Life I was at work at the Barn a few rods from the house a mesenger came running [p.8] to me and sd the man was killing his Mother I immediately went to the house and found him in a dreadful rage I rushd into the room took him by the shoulder gave him a shake and sd [“]You what are you about[?”] he in a moment Left his raging dropt his head and became docile till he was bound again This shows that evil spirits are resintutig [resisting or resenting] Previous to going to Br. Newcombs I Took a mission south to Suquehennah and Dolaware Rivers[.] Preachd Considerable establishd a branch with some Persuation one Little Circumstance <I will mention> I drove my Carriage to a post on the outside of the Before a Large house when I saw a number of of women Looking out at the window they were entire strangers to as I had neve[r] been there before but the women met me in door and Calld me Brother this Causd me to ask some questions the sd she had a vision and saw a mormon Elder drive up to the yard observd the hors Carriage and person and as soon as she saw me She knew me and therefore met met me and Cald me Brother I immediately <I> gave an appointment and Preachd evening it was a man sd to to w♢♢♢<h> [worth?] one hundred thousand Dollars <I had> many small missions in that region of Country with success I do not remember as I ever Preachd more then one week in a place without establishing a Branch I did not as much persecution as some did but as afore sd I made it my home at Br. Newcombs till the Next spring but before the season was past there <Came> two men that bid on Br Newcombs farm till they raisd to Nineteen hundred and fifty dollar acordingly he prepared to move the folloing <1835> I went on with him as did a number of the [p.9] when we Came <to> Kirtland Br Newcomb councild with old Father Smith relative to the crazy man he advisd to get seven elders of good report and fast & pray till he was delivered acordingly I was one of them we consulted the family who had not kept the word of Wisdom but they agreed to do it we there fore took the man Layed our hands administered to <him> in a room by our selves and I do not Remembe[r] that he had raging spell after that time we therefore took him to the family and advisd them to keep thier Covenant and he would be well acordingly he was for six months and then the Dead intered [entered] him again we ware Calld for the second time we Cald the Family together and found they <had> returnd to the old practice of braking the word of wisdom we therefore sent a mesage to Father Smith who sd if they wold not kep their covenant we might go abot our business and let them all go to hell together and we were clear[.][5] I staid there <that> year sustaining my family and working on the Temple the next winter I Took a Mission to Canada there I found the Roman Catholicks and Methodist I Commencd <Preaching> among them I soon found that I was folloed by the Circuit Preacher that was on that Circuit[.] He folloed me up till we came in contact one Evening as I had met a Congrega<tion>[.] I arose to speak But haring foot steps at the door I pausd when the Methodist Preacher Came in with about twenty five of his society[.] we got them seated altho the house was crowed before I Cald him to me gave him a good seat and Commencd my subject I <left> many gaps during that he might have a fair Chance[.] after I had sit down he jumpt up semingly well pleased I had observed that he had made use of his pencil freely [p.10] After he sat down I arose and sd to him as he had made Nine Propositions to prove my discourse wrong I should tak them all up and if I f should forget any of them I wishd him to remind me of the same but I took up every one of them and Opened them till I knew that the Congregation were satisfied that I was right as soon as I sat down he arose and began to spak against Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon I immediately Cald him to order I sd I had not spoke upon Joseph nor the the Book of Mormon and at that at that Late Period he had no right <to> bring up subjec<ts> that not been on to the Carpet that night but sd I you will Prreach Tomorrow evening if you pleas I will meet with you and we will discuss these subjects but he sd there would not be time I then sd you Preach at the meting house of Sunday and we can have time and room to investigate acording good order but he declind I Told him I did not wish to hold any man by the button and if he could not be with me I should be under the Necessity of Spaking on them in his absence[.] He finally sd said more but retired and afterwards said to his Metodist breathren to let me alone as <he> did not know what it might amount too I immediately Took up the c<h>aracter of Joseph Smith and the book of Mormon and Laid <them> open to <the> people and soon began to Baptise till I formd a branch of Twen[ty] nine Members many of them were Methodist I set them in order[,] ordained elders[,] returned to <Kirtland> around the head of the head of Lake Erie about Three hundred miles with Bllood in my shoes through a mob country [p.11] I will here relate a Circum[stan]ce which Transpired on the way there <was> Reformd Methodist Preacher who had frequently Cald at my house and I had supplied <him> with food I Cald on him Near night But <he> appeard Very Cold I exhorted him to receive the gospel but he rejected it and did not invite me to stay the nite I went to a Tavern and pursud my Journey the next morning. this day I went to a Clean Creek of Water and there I washed my hands and feet as a testimony against him and went on my Journey to Kirtland <in one year from that he died> in that place I recd [received] my first endowment with about 300 Elders under the hands of Old Father [Alvah] Beman President of the Elders[6] These 300 were <1837> Nearly all the elders that were then in the Church. There Came a great Persecution against the Church The first Presidency escapd the best way they could Joseph was Carried away in box with an ox team supposd to be grain <or> furniture[7] Old Father Smith went on hors back <in the night> others that had Prop[erty] enough to rais a Team went off that winter Leaving about 600 persons of the poorest kind that could not go. I was among the Latter[.] we tried to keep order with the remainder of the Church we kept up our mettings in the Temple one day while we were at the Meting in <the> Temple a number of us were of the first Presidents of Seventy and which I was one agreed to put our property in fund and go together when we did this <we> had a great flow of the spirit of god which Causd us to rejoice exceedingly[.] others came and wanted to Join with us and go together we could not refuse them for they were good saints and nothing against them but Poverty and Persecution therefore we kept on accepting them till we got Near 600 persons who wished to go on to Missouri as that was the gathering place [p.12] We advised the Brethren to work and get everything that was Nescessary for our removal I will here relate a circumstance that in March =38 as I was making staves in the woods about one mille from The Temple I heard the sound of wagons running among peble stones som miles off that drew nearer till I discovered that it was in the air[,] also the sound of steem boat with it[.] it continued to draw near and went directly over my head[. It] did not seem to be higher than the tops of the Trees but I could see nothing it directly towards the Temple when I understood that it was seen to be a steem boat and Old father [Alvah] Beamon in the Bow of it swinging his hat and when it came into the Temple yard it divided in two parts one went to the west the other to the North that to the North Turned Black the other to the west turned white exactly there was the Church was divided[.] Som of the first presidency Divided and all the saints went to the west[.] this Circumstance of the Boat took about 9 o’clock in the morning But to return Saints Labor for anything that help them to move but we who were the presidents, 7 in number Labored all we Could and attended Prayer in the Atick stores of the Temple one or twice every week that Lord would open the way to remove from that place at one time while we were together on our knees I saw a personage stood between me and window he was drest in a long wite robe that Came down near his ancles he appeard to be near 7 feet high with grey hair that came down nearly on his shoulders I saw his hands and feet that were naked his face of a pleasing countenance [p.13] I saw him turn his eyes from me to the others and then to me but did not turn his head he then spoke and sd be one and you shall have enough said no more and pasd away[.] When prayer was finishd I informed them what I had seen and heard. they <were> Pleasd with the Revelation. not Long after this there was a m<an> came from Coanada stopt in Town a while and before he went on his way towards Missouri sent word to us that he had fifty dollars to give and fiftey to send for the benefit of that company we Cald on him and got the money[.] by other ways that opened before us we obtaind four or five hundred dollars we then sent a mesenger to Buffalow and baught goods such as we wanted to Cloth the poor we after wards obtaind money and goods to bear our expenses on the way but the Mob were swearing Vengence on us all the time there was a Methodist Meting <house> that stood near the Temple which was Burnt in the night and and <the> Mob Laid it to us the Leader of that was an old imposter and becaus he was rich and had a Large store of goods could swear and get drunk they would believe him[.] while they were about to make an asault upon us for burning the Meeting house he had a vision and saw who it was that burned the house he met with them informd them we did not burn that house for he knew who it was but dare not tell becaus he could not prove it we had made our Calculation to move in order together. the Mob swore that we should never go out two waggons together[r] but we paid no attention to them but attend to our own business [p. 14] But the Leader of the Mob was Jacob Bump[8] swore that if the they molested or hurt a hair of our heads he would have Vengence on them if he folloed them to hell do it Therefore as god would have it went on Very well Clothd our selves and prepared to move on the 5th of July the day previous Mr Bump came to <me> wishd us to gather our company and Teams together and put them in his field for the night where clover was 1 foot high this we excepted [accepted] with Thankfulness the next morning we all went out together as we had Told the mob we would do we had about 65 Teams with 70 Cows and went on our way the next day at night a number of the Mob Came on but we were prepared for them Every man had a gun and hung them on the out side of the Waggon and some had pistols we always hired a field incloesd to go on[.] the Mob came and beheld our Position and dare not molest us for if we had have Kiled them no Law Could hunt us and they k[n]ew it therefore they gave it up for a bad Job and Left us to go our way we alway kept gards by night we went very well till our money was gone then got together and prayed to god for help immediately a Turnp[i]ke agent who wes [was or wished to] build a ro<a>d in that country came to us and wishd us to build half ♢n for him for which he would give us Twelve hundred dollars we engaged and soon made the road but at that time it was remarkable Dry so that it would be difficult to get water for so Large a Company the man wanted us to do an other Job but we Cald on the Lord to know <what> to do and the day Before we started there Came such a rain that we had aplenty to pursue our Journey [p.15] We were apresd [appraised] that if we went in to Missou<ri> we should be Mobd as Missouri was Popular in Mobing when we got in to Ilinois apart of our Company stopt and after a Little they went on and stopt at a place Calld Hauns mill was there Mobd and part Killed but we Pursued our Journey with <out> any molestation when. When we arrived within five miles of far west we were Met by Joseph and Hiru<m> and escorted to the City of far west with Joy Joseph Came to me wishd us to camp around the Tem<ple> suller [cellar] that they <had> dug Next morning he came again and wishd us all to go to davies County and unite with that branch but sd we would <get> but half way that and that we had better have <a> gard that <night> around our waggons that night I informd him that we had not Be<e>n without one since we Left Kirtland he Laught and sd he thought we go safe acordingly we did when we arrived in Davies County the place was Called ondi amon a found a small body there surrounded by Mobs they were greatly rejoicd to see us It was there that Adam built an alter <and>oferd sacrifices there was then standing at 8 feet high and direct<ly> of there Most Likly where had Been been a City the stone of it were then Laying on the ground a forest of timber the plas Cald Adam on diamond was the handsomes place that I ever saw and the most Convenient for are exalted purposes and the that it was <where> Adam stood Bowed down with aag [age] Leaning over his staff and Prophised the principle things that transpire down to the Latest Generation But <we> were well pleasd with our new Location and began trading our Loose property for farms with commerce we baught a number of them [p. 16]

I imediately with a number <of> hands went to Building Log houses till we built 16 the Last one I Moved int[o] and Livd inside it only five days one day while we were over the river after a few Loads of corn. But Previous to there were two mesengers come from far west with a word from Joseph saying that far west was taken by the Mob and he was a prisoner of war and he advisd us to Lay by our arms and go about our wo[r]k and submit to any thing the Mob said when they come this News was not pleasing to us a[s] we had expected to Locate our families <and> Preach the gospel we <h>ad got into the most Beautiful Country that ever my Eyes b<e>held but I soon Lernd <found> that we were not worthy to stay there but it must be over run by Mobs a few years Longer and when we were prepared we would inherit it. as I heard the Mesengers Brought the unwelcome New[s] that we must submit to these unrighteous desires a short time I stood and heard the news from Joseph we knew that his Council would stand being a prophet of god a Large number of Breathren and sisters were there gathered there to hear I stood a few moments and turnd around and went towards a thicket of trees to give vent to my feelings when I sd within myself Lord what does all these things mean when to my astonish<ment> a word and an answer was give saying Be still and know that I am god. I had no thought that he was so nigh me and would speak so plain I immediately turnd and went back to <the> Company that was gathered and found them complaining that they had ever come to Misouri to see so good country and then be robbed and Mobd away. I sd to them all god had designd all thise for our good and it would prove so in the [p.[17]][9] end after talking a few minutes they we[page torn] quiet and Comencd weeping I heard no m[page torn] complaining for they were a good people a few days after that I went acrost the river with a number of teams to gather corn when Eight hundred of the Mob were seen coming we Continued our Labor when they Came up to the gate and halfted sent a mesenger to me and sd you are all our prisoners and we want you to go with us I sd to them we had come after corn and it was necessary that we had some home he sd Load your wagons and send them home with Boys but we want the men to go with us we did so they Led us about a mile and then halted and put a strong gard around us and we sat down on the ground then they questioned us Very Closly for some time when they retired and gave us orders to go home and get our arms and appear on the parade and deliver them up according<ly> we did so then gave us ten days to Leave or the Mob would dstroy us we sat [set] about to move there were many who had no team But we went to Moving with all the teams that we could raise there were many pe♢ ♢♢id ou♢ that had no means of helping themselves but we affected most of it in time and Trying it was I Loaded my team with my family one widow and another small family to one Load went to far west deposited them and went back after another they had nearly <all> gone and the Mobs were stud[y]ing all that property they Could lay their hands upon I took my horses in to the hous that I had Left gardd them through the night the next day took [p.[18]] another family and returnd far west then took my team and returnd to Davis County to our fields after Corn to Sustain our selves and Team as soon as I got thing set in order I took my team and went about thirty or forty miles to flat Country to work on a Mill to get Money to help me out of the state as the Mob and Missouri Legislation agreed we should never raise another Crop in the state I workd on the Mill about two weeks They sent me away about 30 miles after a Load of honey I got the honey and returning acrost the prarie it was Very Cold I stopt at a Mob Tavern to stay for the Night I did not Like the apearance of the people Much went into an upper Loft to sleep in the Latter part of the Night I heard quite a Commotion in the Lower part of the [unclear] and heard som say they had never seen the Like Before I raisd up and Lookd out of the window and <saw a> Very bright Circle around the Moon and a half Circle at the Back of it and then very Bright Lig spots in different parts of the heaven this gave the people a sort of a shock so that they said but Little more about Mormons therefore I went on un my way unmolested after abot two wek I thought it was about time for me <to> Leave I sd nothing Caled for a settlement got What was do [due] to me the next morning Harnesed my team and said my business required my presence at home they urged me hard to stay and bring my family there any part of the Land I might have But all to no purpose I returned home with money Enough to bear my expenses out of the state [p.19]

About the first of March I started with my family and one more in my waggon for Illinois and crost the Missisippi at Quincy went Back a fe[w] miles and camp but found no ho<uses> without  very high rent I Took my hors and rode up to bear Creek Near Lyme there I found a forest of timber about 12 miles squire [square] in which was much game and Very fine timb[er] I went in there and found Brother burgess who sd if I would stop there he would do so too we stopt in the forest and built us houses and Both Being accustom<ed> to hunting we soon got Venison to eat but not being hea[l]thy on account of exposure did not know what coars to tak to sustain my family till harvest therefore I Dreamd that I was making Boxes and measures and my women were making Baskets for sale I Dreamd how to mak them as I had never seen one made but I got up in the morning and found good timber for the purpose and soon made a load and of[f] to sell them which I did and found market for them and got every kind of provisions that I wanted we Cleared about 12 acres of land and raisd provision enough for the next year

I staid there near 2 years and Joseph called the seven first presidents of the seventies to Come to Nauvoo I being one I removed there and made a settlement on the prarie 2 miles from Nauvoo But while we were living in Bear creek timber there came a man from Nauvoo after help to nurse the sick as there were not enough well ones to take care the sick I therefore sent my sister & daughter [p.20] and promisd them that I would be there at Conference to see them acordingly I went to <this> house where my daughter was nursing, I went to the dore and heard no noise in the house I knokd at the Dore and heard a faint voice answer I went in and found the whole family Prostrate on different parts of the house I spoke and my daughter heard my voice and sprang from the bed and said father have you Come I want to go home I then went in search of my sister and found her in the same Position They had gone into families and Nursd alone till worn down with fatigue and diseas fell upon them I took them both in my waggon with a bed and Carried them home about 30 miles and nursd them There <three> Months before I could rais them[.] at one time I was Calld to see my Daughter die I went in she apperd Nearly breathing her <last> the spirit of god [c]ame upon me I said Mariah do you want to Live she partly opened her eyes and said yes I said do you want to live to rais a family and keep the commands of god she answered in the affirmative I said then you m[a]y Live[.] She soon began to recover and got well and has rased a large family all in the Church[.] my sister soon recovered and got well[.] as observed I was Cald to Nauvoo and settled on the Praire 2 miles from the Temple Made a farm and Livd comfortable I obtaind other Land and made farms but there were a continual persecution against us and Especially against Joseph from Missouri I think there were raising of 1,0 suits Brought against him and to no effect and findlly<ing> that the Law Could not touch him But <they supposed> Powder and <ball> should [p.21]

The Continual Persecutions from Missouri opperated upon Ilinois which had been ♢ercy for a while and had given a very Liberal Charter for the Citty of nauvoo and also a Charter for a Legion we then Proceeded to Build a Temple and got it Nearly finisd when an armd Mob of about 250 men Painted came upon Joseph [Smith] J[ohn] Taylor W[illard] Richards <and Hirum Smith> while in Carthage Jail Killed Joseph & Hirum and shot four Balls into J. Taylor the fourth Saved his Life by striking his watch which was in <his> Vest pocket after Joseph had fell dead one of the rufions made a move to take of his head But a singular Light shone around him that struck him with fear they there fore fled in every direction and disapersd[.] our Breathren went and Brought them home and Buried the dead re[s]tored the wounded at this time the Mob expected we shou<ld> rise and and give them battle but we thought Best <not to do it> and kept still and Continued work on the Temple and finishd it and got our endowments. But at the time the Most of the Twelve were absent on missions Sidney Rigdon who aspired for the Presidency Came and Cald the Cald the Church Together and present his Claim <as> for the Presidency but the Twelve soon Came home and appeared on the stand[.] at the day appointed for Chusing Sidney made his plea[.] Brigham young began to speak and answer to him[.] at that time I sat with my Back towards the <stand> as did many others I heard his voice and supposed it was Joseph was some supprised and Turned round to to see him and Behold it was Brigham speaking in Josephs voice for Behold Joseph Mantle had fallen on him the people understood it in the same way [p.22] but the Church Considered Brigham to be the man his Caracter had always been and he stood at the head of the twelve therefore they held to him as I observed we finisd the [temple] and recd [received] our endowments in the winter 1846 we Learned that another general Persecution was about Coming I had 3 days notice to Leave nauvoo I with Br. Burges raisd a four horse Team Loaded it with food and Crost the river the 2nd day of Febry and went on with the authorities of the Church as far as sugar Creek in Ioway we staid there till the winter Broke and then pursued our Journey west But such a flood storm and rain folloed us as I never saw in any Country I was advisd to take ten waggons and go a head and asist in making roads the highest and driest Land that was in the Country <was> soakd with water so that it was difficult to get a long with a waggon[.] one Morning got on my horse and rode back a few miles to se how <the> Company were geting along It raind Like shot I saw a man a head walking with a box Coat on o[f] indorubbber[10] when I Came up with him I found it was Br. Brigham I askd him how they got along he sd first rate he sd he put his hand in his pocket for his handkerchief and his pocket was full of water after conversing a Little I went back and pursued my Journey[.] P[arley] P Prat and Orson and myself went forward to look for Locations for the poor and such as Could go no further we found a grove of timber and Cald it garden grove in which we mad[e] a Location and was a Convenient place for a settlement I then unloaded my wagon and delivered my Load of Flowers and Bacon to parley P Prat and orson & returnd [p.23] back to Look after my family I met them not far from the Misisippi River they had got there teams a few Cows and sheep but had not got a suitable fitout for the winter folloing we then went into Van buren Co. and went to work for provision acordingly we workd about 2 months and got prepared to go on and Crost the Missourri River to a place we Cald winter quarters there we staid through winter I went down into to sell such things that we could not Carry through the mountains I Purchasd Considerable Provisions that I Could not fetch home but being gone some time and Much exposd when I got home I Could not walk without two Crutches I then <sent> the Boys with two teams they went till they were exhausted so far beyond ther stren<gth> they both Come home sick and went to bed John was sick for some time I [illegible] all the Medical aid I <could> but to no purpose but he Continued to grow worse till one day I was Cald in to see him die I went in saw the family with the Doctor standing by the bed to se him Die I saad John you are not agoing to die now at the he had gone so far that he had got what they <Cald> the death Hicups which terminated in death in a few hour<s> I turnd to doctor to go and get something Tart and sour Enough to Break that string of Phlegm in his throat he went immediately and got somthing which had the desird affect I sd to him that he would not die now for I Could not spare him now so he immediately revived we took him to the water and Baptised him and he soon recovered and Drove a team through the mountains.[11] But when we fast arrived at winter quarters we found the people Much in a sickly state by Exposure in consequence of 500 of the Most able Bodied men being taken from their Midsts for the Mexican war we found the sick and <dying> Living in Tents half Naked went to work and Built 5 houses Before we got one for ourselves [p.24] We lived through the winter on short rations for our Cattle I lost all My sheep and 7 head of Cattl the Next spring we fencd Land and raisd Considerable Provision But in =47 the spring Br. Brigham with about 140 persons went on to the Valey to find a Location for the saints[.] found a satisfacting Place Left some to put in crops the Latter part of July and returnd to to winter quarters the same season supposd to ove[r] 2000 miles with ox teams the next spring we prepared for a general removal we started about the Last of May with about 60 waggons as did many others with more then that number we prospered in our move Without much Acident one Boy got his Leg Broak and one man broke his arm in my Company but I sat [set] it and it soon got well as did the Leg also we got throug the Latter part of Septbr I Built a house I enquired of General Rich[12] who had staid to raise grain if there was grain enough in the Valey to sustain the People he said he thought there would if prudently used I had but Littl as I had supplied two families through the Besides my own who still depended on me for their support I immediately so[ld] Three Cows to men that workd on the only grist Mill that Building in the Valey w[h]o were to have grain as soon as the Mill should run I went to him with a 20 dollar order to get some Bread stuff but he afirmd to me that he Could Let no man have half that amount I was much Disappointed and went away Much Dishartened the next day I Took a Mill right [millwright] found a good place for a mill 2 miles from the former one ownd by J Kneff we immediately went to building Mills[13] it was a very hard snowey winter but we got timber from the Kenion [canyon] Beginning about the first of Decbr among the snow and frost[.] built a dam race and grist Mill by the first of March and got the Timber and foundation of a saw Mill at the same time I then went to Br. Kimbal and asked him if it would be right to grind for one 16th when Br. Kneff [p.25] ground for a Tenth he sd by all means if you can afford it I and you shall have all my Custom. I soon got bread Enough for my family and some to sell I never sold meal for more than 1.50 cents per bushel a man Cald on me for one bushel of meal to go to Calafornea with the gold to pay for it I informd that there were many Poor that had no gold <to> pay and I must Let them have it rather [scribbles filling two lines’ of space] than you There are many poor that have no Bread nor Money[.] Money is very scarce and it will not do to Let the[m] starve becaus they can’t get it About this Brigham and Kimbal Put out some Hundre[d]s of dollars in paper Notes for a Circulating Medium to be redeemd after a time I receivd it when I Could get for any Kind of bread stuf some would not take it and others Could not get it and when they had nothing to pay I do not Know as ever turned any away hungr<y> but from that time we had Bread to eat we Continued our Labor and finishd the saw mill and soon Built a good hous and Barn in Town 16th Ward on the Jordan street and got Land and made a good farm over Jordan and we raisd abundance of grain

About year =54 or =55 an Army Came from the united states to the Valey commited some Little depredations but were held at Bay[14] & about =57 an other Army under Col. Jonson Came on and had some appearance of Hostility we found that it was not wisdom to Let them Come in that way. We had a few boys here that were quite used to mountaines we sent them out too Meet them and they Succeeded in stoping them Took about 1400 head of Cattle and Teams and Brought in to the Valey also took away some of their Comissary stores they were thus rather displeasd and had thrown such Threats that we were not willing to trust them to Come in to our midst with those felings[.] we held them in the Mountains till we were ready to Receive them Our women and Children were movd to the south the men were Con♢♢d and watching them while <they> past Through [p.26] Through the Town I was in the City Council at this time and saw them all pas Through they went but they went Through Very civil without any interruption and Past over Jordan and Campt there I had a farm over Jordan and was occasionally on it being there at one time the Cattle that Belongd to the army had Broke into my field and were doing damage I went to the heards man and requested him to keep them away but answered me Very indiferently I had a fleet horse < I> Jumpt on him rode to the Camp in short order Enquird for general Jonson but he was gone I enquired for the next in Command they informed me I went to him I asked him if <they> had Come there to Trespass on private Property he sd no I asked him why he were doing so he sd he did not know as he was I informed him that heardsmen had Let their into my field and answered me roughly when requested him to Leave he made a cross expression and sharp orders to remove them Immediately I saw the <were> disposd to be friendly & I staid around the Camp a while I got into Conversation with another <officer> of Note who Treated me very Kindly he asked me many questions which I a[n]swered I supposed to his satisfaction Among the rest he wishd to know of me why we stopt them in the Mountains I informed them him that they wer then Hostile to us in their feelings and if they have Come in then there would have been Blood shed this was the purpose we stopt them for But sd he what did your people think they could do with 3000 men armd as they were I informed him he had got a very wrong oppinion of us and our Position and that our Peoples patience had been so perfectly worn Threadbare in Consequence of the Various depredations that had been Committed by the other soldiers and strangers upon Both male and female that they were hard to hold I suppose you think we are a feble few and Lacking for Courage but Let me tell you that it is my opinion that if the men of salt <lake> Citty were to fall upon you that they would dstroy you [p.27] at a Breakfast spell and salt Lake is but one City to a great many both north and south and west I recollect at one time while in our Sunday meting while you were in the Mountains in the winter that <some> of the authorities wanted to let our men fall upon you but Brigham held them Back and Took that influence away saying that there were many in that army that were honest men and if we should destroy <them> we should do wrong therefore they were held Back for further Consideration and if they pleas they may thank Brigham Young for that But the Army soon retired some forty <or> fifty miles of[f] and did us no great harm with the exception that a few would Come into town some times and Commit depredations for which <we> would Chasten them[.] after a short time they began to dwindle away Till they all Left and Left many thousand dollars worth of Property which they <sold> for <a> Trifling sums.[15] But to return the united states government had heard that we were about to Leave these Valies and dstroy everything behind us they therefore sent two Embasadors to forgive what they sd was an offence and invite us to go back in possession of our lands and be good Citizens

I think in about =56 that the Lord imprest upon the mind of Br Brigham the Necessty of a refformation among the People we immediately saw the necessity of it[.] it was thorough through the Valey among the people and had a good effect in our prosperity

The great divide in America relative to the slave question Continued rise <and> higher till s[o]uth Carolina rvolted others folloed thire example till they went into a dreadful internal war This ex[c]ited us some but we Continued to prosper and increase in all our pursuits Altho we were Located in an Indian Country we had not many wars but when we had any we had our own expences to for we had no h[e]lp the general government but our wars were few and Long between in Consequence of our being driven out from the united states similar as they were I think all the wars we had with the Indians have not as yet made us so much trouble as the armies sent from the [p.28] united states who had Come here pretending to defend us from the Indians I still Continued my Labors in town and on my farm what time I Could get I had much Labor to attend to attend among the seventies remaining a Presd [presiding] counsellor among them and had been from the time we left Kirtland which was twenty five or six years I was frequently out from four to five evening in a week besides day metings I discovered that with age that I had approacht to that it began to wair upon my Constitution I was advisd by some to give up my presidency and let a younger man tak it that would be better qualified to attend to the Labours that involved upon it I therefore gave it with the Privilege of remaining in the body of the seventies or Join the high priest Chorum I therefore have yet remaind in the boddy of the Seventis Considering they were ambracd in the Mekesideck Priesthood It was a mater of indifference with me Howeve[r] the southern <mission> that had been in actation for some time had some influence with me partly on account of its necessity and partly on account of some of my boys that were Cald there I therefore <I> said I did not <know> but I would g[o] there if the Presidency thought best but no sooner than they heard of it they sent me an order to go with all my family I therefore put myself in the way of selling my property my boys heard of it and Came to help me move accordingly in the fall of =62 I remod [removed] to Shoal Creek where my boys were keeping a heard for the southern <People> that had no heard ground I found it to be a very heathy Location and have enjoyed my self very well Considering the Obsurety [obscurity] of the place and the great distance we are from the abodes of of the White man in the very midst of the roving savage that Constantly are Travling those deserts but we have had but Little Trouble with them only the Tax of diving our bread with and never Let them go from our doores starving and frequently Large numbers Came hungry we gave them [p.29] sheep or a beef and then advised them to <go> and hunt which they would do in good feelings we thought it better to give a Little occasionally and have peace [peace] than turn the with them then to turn them away and have war

[1] Pre-modern medicine.

[2] According to the Zerah Pulsipher Autobiographical Sketch #2, this hymn was “That Glorious Day is Drawing Nigh When Zion’s Light Shall Shine,” which was published in a few Baptists hymnals at that time.

[3] Side bar notes that this happened in 1831.

[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] There are a few other accounts of this story published in the late nineteenth century. See LaFayette Granger, “An Incident Related by LaFayette Granger,” Juvenile Instructor, 29(18), 577; Daniel Tyler “Covenant Breaking”, Juvenile Instructor, 19(7), 102-3; Ruth W. Tyler, “A Manifestation of God’s Power through Fasting and Prayer,” Juvenile Instructor, 19(6), 91.

[6] According to the Elder’s quorum record, Zerah was anointed on 28 January 1836, before his missionary journey to Canada. See Lyndon W. Cook and Milton V. Backman, Jr. (ed.) Kirtland Elders’ Quorum Record 1836-1841 (Provo, UT: Grandin Book Co., 1985), http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/Kirt-Elders.html.

[7] 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).

[8] Jacob Bump (1791-1865) was a member of the Church of Christ who joined dissenters to depose Joseph Smith and associated with various break-off groups from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for many years.

[9] What are placed and labeled as pages 17 and 18 in the manuscript are switched in this typescript because the flow of story and sentences seems to be more correct and in line with the Zerah Pulsipher Autobiographical Sketch #2 in the format presented here.

[10] Likely a Mackintosh coat, which was waterproofed by sandwiching rubber between two layers of fabric. They were a popular clothing item in the British Isles during the time that Brigham Young served his mission there. A box coat is a heavy overcoat worn for driving.

[11] Re-baptisms for health were not uncommon in the Church prior to the early 20th century.

[12] Charles Coulson Rich was major general of the Nauvoo Legion.

[13] According to Andrew Jensen: “In the spring of 1848 John Neff located a mill site on Mill Creek, near a little grove, about two miles below the mouth of Mill Creek Canyon…. About harvest time the mill commenced operation, even before the building was roofed in. With the exception of a small chopping mill put up by Charles Crisman, at the mouth of City Creek Canyon, this was the first mill in Salt Lake Valley, and it made the first flour produced in Utah. This mill occupies one of the finest mill sites in Utah Territory.

“Mr. Neff moved his family out on the mill site early in the fall of 1848 and thus became the first settler on Mill Creek….

“In 1848 and 1849, the Gardner family… and others settled at various places on Mill Creek and Big Cottonwood Creek. The Gardeners built a saw mill and subsequently a grist mill about two miles below John Neff’s mill site.” (Andrew Jensen, The Historical Record, Vol. 6, Nos. 9-12 [Salt Lake City: Andrew Jensen, 1889], 296-297.)

[14] This was the Edward J. Steptoe expedition of 1854-1855. The depredations Zerah spoke of included incidents of public drunkenness and riot as well as fraternization with Latter-day Saint women. Many Latter-day Saints were also angered by the fact that upon departure the army was accompanied by as many as one hundred married and single Latter-day Saint women seeking an exit from the Church.

[15] With the outbreak of the U.S. Civil War in 1861, the army pulled out of Utah. There followed what Leonard J. Arrington characterized as “probably the largest government surplus property sale yet held in the history of the nation.” Millions of dollars of property were sold for a fraction of their value to local settlers in Utah. (Leonard J. Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints 1830-1900 [Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1966], 197-199.)


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