1828, I went to work in the Black Lead Mines about five miles from my
grandfather's for 62 1/2 [16 1/2 cents?] per day and board through
the winter. In the spring, I
hired to the company for $16.00 per month and kept the books of the company
for 40 cents a month. In June I
was blown up while charging a rock which so injured me that I was unable to
return again. I then worked by
the month and by the job until next spring when I hired to Mr. Hezehiah Allen
for seven months for $10.00 per month. Mr.
Allen hired a girl to help his wife to spin, to make cheese and do house work
in the month of June by the name of Nancy Lampson.
In the course of the summer my acquaintance with her begat in me a
notion of gathering my means which I had earned and laid up to the amount of
about $600 and go into the western world and buy me a farm and settle down.
started for Genessee County where our mother went two years before.
This was the last time I saw the place of my birth.
My brother and myself took the canal at New London for Rochester where
we left and went on foot to Batavia thence up the Gonawana, a creek to China,
a distance from Batavia twenty-five miles south to where our mother lived.
We found them all well but yet poor.
After spending two weeks in looking for a farm, I bought in
Weathersfield about six miles of where my mother lived.
The farm contained one hundred acres, about fifty under fence and
thirty of meadow and pasturage and etc, with a frame barn thirty by forty
feet, a frame house 20 by 28 feet, some 50 apples trees, peach, plum,
currents, etc., for which I was to give $812.50 in cash with the Holland
Purchase money, having four years to pay $400 of it.
I purchased of a man by the name of Seth Louis Esey-------
I traveled all the way back on foot, averaging about thirty-five or
forty miles a day, 400 miles in mud and snow to the place of my grandfather.
I soon went to Western to visit Nancy Lampson and inform her of my
intentions of going west as soon as I could get ready and to know whether she
would accompany me thither which she cheerfully agreed to be ready as soon as
I should require her.
30, 1830, I was married at her father's house in the town of Western to Nancy
Lampson, she being the youngest daughter of David Lampson and Sarah Bliss
Lampson, by the minister of the Congregational Church. She had three brothers that I never saw as they had all
married and left the country.
prepared to move to the place I had purchased.
I purchased a two horse wagon, a good yoke of oxen and one horse,
loaded all our little effects in our wagon and started the 10th day of January
1831 with my wife Nancy and my sister, Phoebe and arrived in Weathersfield,
February 6, 1831, a distance of 400 miles.”
Joseph worked hard making a home for his wife.
He wrote, “The next summer I weather-boarded my house and made
other improvements, dug a well twenty-two feet deep, fenced in a garden with a
board fence of about an acre of fruit, a log shed adjoining my other one and
such other conveniences necessary.
21, 1832, my wife had her first born child, a daughter I named Sarah Lucretia
Holbrook after her two grandmothers.”
testimony of their conversion to the church:
“In the course
of the season, my Aunt Phoebe Angell and her family moved from Rhode Island to
Genessee County about the first day of September, 1832. I heard there was to
be a Mormon meeting in China [now "Arcade"], four miles distant.
I said I would go and hear this strange sect but upon arriving and
waiting some time at the place of the meeting the elder John B. Green sent
word by his son Evan M. Green and Lorenzo D. Young that he should not be able
to attend. Mr. Green had sent by
the bearers two of the papers, the Evening and Morning Star, printed in
Jackson County, containing the articles of the Church and also the prophecy of
Enoch which they requested a Mr. Catline, a universal preacher to read to the
congregation. They made a few
remarks after they were read which gave me some little light as to Mormonism. I met the young men on the floor in the school house and
asked them where I could get a Book of Mormon.
They said they did not know. I
then told them I would go fifty miles the next day to get one if they could
direct me where. They said they
could not tell me. I told them
where I lived if they could direct any elders there at any future time they
would be welcome as I wished to learn more about this new revelation to man.
About this moment my cousin Mary Ann Angell heard my anxiety to get a
Book of Mormon, whispered to me and said she had one she would lend me in
about two weeks as she had it promised for that time I said I would go home
with her and see it. She said I
could do so. I saw the Book of
Mormon. I read the testimony of
the witnesses. I looked at some
of the gospel. I felt much
rejoiced to think an angel had come from God and brought such good news.
I thanked my cousin for the favor of seeing the Book, hoping she would
not disappoint me in my having the privilege of reading it in two weeks.
The two weeks passed away.
I thought much of Mormonism. I
believed all I had heard or seen. I
felt much to rejoice for these words came often to my mind, "Blessed are
ye for ye believe and have not seen."
weeks brought my cousin Mary Ann Angell with the Book of Mormon to my house
with her father James Angell, and the Mormon Elder John Green. I spent two or three hours with them while my wife was
getting dinner. This was on
Friday. I commenced reading that
evening but being brought up not to spend any time a week day to read, I
thought I must work and as my cart was in the field where I left it the day
before when I was digging potatoes. I went to digging potatoes but soon found I
could not content my mind at work.
returned to the house, took the Book of Mormon and read a few hours, but as
this was an unusual thing for me to stop work to read in the day time, my wife
became alarmed and thought I had better be at work than spending my time
reading such deception which called my attention again to my potato digging.
I had not dug long before I wished with all my heart I knew all there
was in that Book. I went out into
a by place nearby where I knelt down to pray.
I no sooner closed my eyes than it seemed as though the whole thistle
plantation was in motion. I
opened my eyes. I could see
nothing the matter. I closed my
eyes. The second time when it seemed as if there was a whistle wind
among the thistle yet I felt no wind. I
continued my prayer for the forgiveness of my sins and for the Lord to lead me
right and show me the truth of Mormonism.
When I arose I said I would go to the house and read the Book of
Mormon, work or no work. This was
on the after part of the day on Saturday.
I read that day and night late and on Sunday I read again, my wife
taking the child in the morning and going about three-fourths of a mile to my
brothers, saying she would not stay in the house and listen to such nonsense.
I read and prayed a number of times that day, being all alone that day
and marveled much that the thistle should be so much troubled at my prayers
and that my wife should be so disturbed she could not stay at home for she was
always fond of having me to sit down and read of evenings and Sundays.
I read the Book of Mormon
through in two days and three nights and carried it home on a Monday morning
to my cousin. She asked me what I
thought of it. I told her I
believed it was true and that God was at the bottom of the work.”
Joseph had given Mr. Blarnhard, a minister, a dollar for his preaching
and he became very concerned about Joseph’s family.
“He told my
wife in my absence, falsehoods about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon,
of the Prophet, Joseph Smith Jr., etc., which kept her in much fear, also as
she thought I was about to deceive her as well as myself, but still I believed
Joseph had a dream at
this time and saw a road that he took that lead him in the right path while
others took wrong roads. (On page 10 of Joseph’s journal).
He was concerned about Nancy because she had not accepted this new
religion as he had and he wrote: “I looked again to see if my wife was
coming saying, 'I think she will be along soon' (as she at this
time did not fully believe Mormonism.) And I saw the city I had left given to the destruction of
every kind by the judgments of God and the wickedness of the people and lo!
when I awoke it was a dream.
Saturday, January 5, 1833, I took my ox team and cart with my wife, Nancy, my
Aunt Phoebe Angell, Cousin Mary Ann Angell, and went to Warsaw to Elder Aaron
C. Lyon to be there on Sunday. Brother
Lyon gave us a cheerful welcome on our arrival that night.
In the morning I told Brother Lyon and Rich I would like to be baptized
if they thought I was worthy as I had brought my clothes for that purpose.
So after breakfast I was baptized with my Aunt Phoebe Angell, by
Leonard Rich. Mary Ann Angell
having been baptized about a week before.
confirmed by Aaron C. Lyon. About
11 o'clock a.m. They had a meeting, about the first I had ever been to.
Different elders occupied the time during the day and evening.
Windson C. Lyon then spoke in tongues which was the first I had ever
heard. My wife became convinced
that Mormonism was true. On
Monday, January 7, she was also baptized by Leonard Rich, was confirmed by
Aaron C. Lyon. I was also
ordained a teacher in the Church of Christ under the hand of Aaron C. Lyon,
high priest, and was directed to teach the principles to all who wished to
hear. I returned home on the same day, much rejoiced to think that
my wife was with me in the faith of the gospel.”
Joseph began to teach other members of his family who were also
baptized. This included his
mother and step-father. Joseph
and Nancy would experience many of the trials of the early members of the
November 1, 1838, the brethren laid down their arms where they were and all
the town of Far West put under guard. The
troops some 5,000, all mounted on horseback, marched through.
" All the
brethren were then drawn up in the hollow square on the public square in Farr
West for about this time General Clark arrived with some 6,000 Militia and
still threatened the brethren with further violence making them sign away
their rights in a deed of trust for the defraying of the expenses of the mob
or army, of all they possessed in real or personal estate and leave the State
the coming winter or spring and no further limit would be granted them.
At the same time they called out some seventy-five of our best men and
took them to Richmond jail and putting them under guard so that no one was at
liberty to go for wood or other things without a strong guard.
They continued to take all kinds of property a common plunder -- taking
prisoners whenever they could find any that they had any grudge against
because they believed in the revelations of God.
mob or militia burnt my house, stole a valuable horse from me, killed my fat
hogs, drove off my stock. I had
some 300 bushels of the best of corn in the crib taken out of the crib. They fed our oats in the sack, destroyed my hay, and left
everything in a state of desolation from one end of the county to the other.
November 4, 1838, a severe snow storm and very cold weather for some three
weeks, which drove the troops from out of our county except some few companies
who said they were left to see that the Mormons left the State and also to
continue to take the brethren prisoners.
Thus my freedom and life for three months was in constant danger.
" My wife
had very poor health during the winter and fall by being exposed much to the
inclement weather by having to remove from place to place as our house had
been burned and we were yet left to seek a home whenever our friends could
accommodate us and for my safety but as I cannot write a hundredth part of the
suffering and destruction of this people who were in a flourishing condition
but a few months before are now destitute.
I could have commanded some $2000 but now I had only one yoke of old
oxen and two cows left.
"As we found
that there was no more peace or safety for the Saints in the State of Missouri
and if the Church would make haste and move as fast as possible it would add
much to the relief of our brethren who were now in jail as our enemies were
determined to hold them as hostages until the Church left the State so that
every exertion was made in the dead of winter to remove as fast as possible
and for those whom they our enemies held the greatest spite to let their
families go without them, so I left my family with only $0.50 in cash for her
comfort with three small children, Sarah Lucretia, Charlotte and Joseph Lamoni
"My wife was
confined just one week from my departure from home, had a daughter and she was
named Nancy Jane Holbrook, born January 27, 1839.
"On the 20th
day of January, 1839, (I left home in the evening with Brother Nathan Tanner
and Ethan Barrows.) We traveled
that night so that the next day we were away from those that would seek to do
us harm. Twenty-three miles we
traveled each day on foot alone by ourselves and on the twenty-eighth day of
January we crossed the Mississippi River at Hannibal and the next day came to
Quincy, Illinois and found ourselves in a land of freedom once more by the help of
God and his blessings.
brethren were continually coming to Quincy from Missouri as I had come which
made it a great burden on those few families of the saints in this vicinity
and but little employment at this time of the year.
This was in Hancock and I was the only one engaged in this business,
which I followed about six weeks which kept up nearly night and day, as I got
the most of going nights besides camping out on prairie. I overheated myself in
the latter part of July which brought on a burning fever which brought me low
upon a bed of sickness a few days so I could not help myself any more than a
child having to be lifted on a sheet from one bed to another.
My family's health was also poor having the fever and ague much of the
time. I built a small log house
on a piece of vacant land in the fall and moved into it for the winter.
I had to run in debt for all my living as my means were expended.
summer I so gained my health as to be able to work.
My wife became very sick and was confined February 11, 1840 with a son.
He was stillborn. We
named him as we did not know what was for the best--David Holbrook.
I was enabled to pay up all demands against me.
31, 1841, we had a son, stillborn, and named him Moroni.
it best to go to Galena for a short season so paid all my debts at much
sacrifice, when I took my leave of the branch with two teams that I had hired
and two brethren, John Telford and Ebenezer Page in the month of December with
my wife and four small children. We
traveled through the snow and mud some two hundred miles.
I found a brother Wright, who exchanged a yoke of oxen with me for my
horse team and gave me $25 in the trade which helped me for the present.
found a place on the Mississippi River in the timber about one mile north of
Illinois line in Wisconsin territory to build me a cabin where I found
employment in hauling wood to a smelting furnace for $1.25 1/2 per cord. After laboring for the winter and spring I secured my pay in
money on the State Bank of Illinois, which bank went broke in a few days
after, and I could not get over $.50 on a dollar in goods. I still continued to labor and was forced to take my pay in
bank bills, Showny town Bank which soon failed.
The Debuge [Dubuque?] Bank had also failed in Iowa so there was no currency to be
depended upon so that business became dull.
I was forced again to take a lot of wood by the cord at $.62 1/2 per
cord on the timber. I hauled
about eighty cords to the river and could only get $.50 a cord for it when
placed upon the bank of the river. Thus
it was a continued series of losses. In
June I received a letter from Anson Call to come to Nauvoo so I purchased a
small flat boat about six feet wide and twenty-two feet long. I left my oxen with Brother Wright and fifty cord of wood on
the bank of the Mississippi River and took my family on board with all my
effects with Brother Telford who had lived with me all the time since I left
immediately moved to Dwight Harding's house about two miles from the river
with my family. My wife, Nancy,
was taken sick on the 7th of July and grew worse until she died, being sick
nine days, July 16, 1842, age 37 years 11 months and two days, disease,
cholera morbus and inflammation on the lungs.
She left four children, viz., Sarah Lucretia, Charlotte, Joseph Lamoni
and Nancy Jane. Thus I had in an
unexpected moment been deprived of one of the best of wives and the best of
mothers. She had stood with me in
six troubles through the Missouri troubles with death with fortitude, all the
attendant evils with sickness and her faith had always been firm and unshaken
in the cause of the Lord in these last days without a murmur or a
reflection. She had firm hope in
a glorious resurrection for which she had obeyed the gospel and lived and
spent her life, for we had lived together in the most perfect understanding
for almost twelve years. My wife
was buried in the east part of the city of Nauvoo on the public burying ground
on Block 5, Lot 5, grave 2. Nancy Jane on the same Block and lot grave.
I put up two good stones at these graves.
She had hoped to have lived to enjoy the society of the saints and hear
the words of our beloved Prophet in whom she had full faith but I am glad she
lived so that she had a good burial with the thirteen saints where she may
rest till the morn of the first resurrection is my prayer in the name of Jesus
wife's death I was re-baptized in the Mississippi River by Brigham Young.
I continued in the house with my brother-in-law, Dwight Harding, when I
purchased a small fraction of a lot near Nun Holland Street 3 1/3 rods on
front, 4 1/2 rods back for $50 of my brother, Chandler.
When my wife's funeral expenses were paid I had $15 in cash left
besides my small flat boat which I sold for an old wagon worth $30, which
constituted my worldly substance at this time except my oxen and wood I had
Brother Harding a part of the money to go out into the country to buy corn,
which I gave him one half for his trouble.
I and my family lived on corn bread with but little else.
I got my sister, Phoebe Harding, to look after the children and do my
cooking. I went out ten miles
east of Nauvoo on the prairie cut grass and had it hauled for halves
while I camped on the ground, dug me a well ten feet deep for water. My living
consisted of 1 1/2 pints of molasses per week and cold corn bread brought to
me twice a week. My health was
good. I worked all day and much
of the night when the moon shone so that I could cut grass.
"I now began
to gather materials to build on my little lot by selling my part of the hay
delivered in Nauvoo at $5 per ton. I
continued in this way for seven weeks when I had paid for bricks for a house
thirty feet by fifteen feet and also a mason to lay them up with lime, etc.
I went to work and laid the foundation myself and soon had the body of
the house up. About this time I
became acquainted with Hannah Flint, sister to Brother Anson Call's wife about
my age, whom I afterwards married.
I took the steam boat and went up the Mississippi River to Wisconsin and found the
man I sold fifty cords of wood for $25 in goods.
I found my oxen at Brother Wright's in good order.
I then started for Nauvoo on foot, being over 225 miles, driving my
oxen with me, tying them up nights after stopping to feed them and sleeping
out of doors. I drove in about
sixteen miles of Nauvoo. I came
to E. Page's and as he was making shingles he said if I would stop and help
him a few days he would let me have some shingles for my house.
I did so.
return I found my children well. I
then commenced my house in good earnest.
I went to the river and helped take out a raft of lumber which was
froze in and took lumber for my pay. I
soon had my house covered in, floors laid, etc..
first day of January, 1843, I was married to Hannah Flint by Heber C. Kimball
at the house of Anson Call in Nauvoo. She
had spent most of the time in schoolmaking.
We now moved into my new house and in about a month my wife commenced a
school in one of the rooms.” Hannah
Flint would become a second mother to Nancy Lampson’s children.
farm was worth some $300 a few months before and a little sacrifice of every
kind of property so we had but little to move with.
I also assisted Brother Shepherd and Brother Harding in selling their
houses and lots and also my brother, Chandler, as he had gone west with the
pioneers with the first company to assist in making roads, bridges, etc. for
the brethren that should follow.
"The city of
Nauvoo now presented one scene of desolation broken down fences with covered
wagons, every man making all the efforts in his power to leave his home and a
great many of the saints were obliged to go without realizing one cent for
their dwellings. Thus the hand of
persecution had prevailed over the honest industry of our beloved and
prosperous city. Here in Nauvoo
laid buried many of our friends. Our
Prophet Joseph Smith who was martyred in Carthage jail June 27, 1844, and also
his brother Hyrum Smith, our patriarch, with their father, Joseph Smith Sen. and
his sons, Don Carlos Smith, his brother Samuel H. Smith and scores of others
with my wife Nancy Holbrook and our daughter Nancy Jane Holbrook with their
memories sacred upon our minds we could but dedicate the place of their
sepulchers to the God of Heaven, hoping that their remains might rest in peace
unmolested until the morn of the first resurrection where all the saints can
rest and come forth to meet a full and complete redemption under the counsel
of their prophet, priest and King. Having
prepared everything according to the best possible chance we bid farewell to
the once beautiful but now desolate and forsaken city, Nauvoo,
family now consisted of my wife, Hannah, my oldest daughter Sarah Lucretia,
who is married to Judson Tolman, Charlotte Holbrook, my second daughter,
Joseph Lamoni Holbrook."