Autobiography of Mary Ann Phelps Rich
A similar history can be found here.
By Edward I. Rich, MD (The only living child of Mary A Rich)
MARY ANN PHELPS RICH, our dear mother was but four years of age when her parents were driven from their home in Independence, Missouri, in the late fall of 1833 by a howling blood thirsty mob. The weather was cold and stormy and they all suffered greatly. She passed through all the persecutions and mob violence heaped upon the Saints from that time until she arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, October 2, 1847. She never faltered or complained. She drove an ox team from Winter Quarters to Salt Lake City on the journey westward. She was a true and faithful Latter-Day Saint, a devoted wife and mother. Her whole life and ambition was for the welfare of her Family; especially their spiritual integrity. She was frugal and a splendid housekeeper and cook. No matter how scarce the food, when served, it was attractive and delicious. “Aunt Mary” as she was affectionately called, could make the best candy. doughnuts, biscuits, pan cakes, bread-pudding, mormon-gravy and many other dishes. She had but one standard of living; if right she embraced it; if wrong she abhorred it.
During the declining years of her life, she passed the winters in Ogden, Utah, with Dr. Ezra and myself and our families and we greatly enjoyed her and she was happy. Mother was blessed with a wonderful memory and was mentally alert up to her death. It was during this time that we prevailed upon her to dictate to a stenographer for an hour or so each day the story of her life which is presented herewith just as she dictated it. As the winter of 1911 approached, she gradually failed and she had a presentment that she would not live much longer. She had a great desire to die at home, so did not come down to Ogden. She was tenderly cared for at her home, but on April 17th, 1912, she passed peace- fully to the great beyond. Just worn out; no disease. Her life was beautiful, self sacrificing, useful and heroic and she was beloved by all.
Impressive funeral services were conducted in the Tabernacle at Paris, Idaho, and her remains now repose in the family plot in the Paris cemetery. God bless her memory.
As a boy we lived just across the street from Grandmother Rich, whose autobiography is here presented. I often slept at her home and have heard her recount many times most of the events she gives in this story. She dictated it to a stenographer when she was seventy-five years old, She had a remarkable memory for details of events and dates. She also seemed to have an intuition of knowing when sickness or trouble occured in the family, regardless of distance or last of communication.
Helen Cortez Stafford read this autobiography and as a result wrote that delightful book, “Sweet Love Remembered.” I have long wanted to see this in print. Through the cooperation of her family it is now accomplished.
Logan, Utah, December 1951.—Jesse P. Rich.
The writer, Mary A. Rich, was born in Tazewell County, Illinois, near Peoria, August 6th, 1829. My father’s name was Morris Phelps, my mother’s Laura Clark. Father was born in Massachusetts and mother in Connecticut. Both of their parents moved, when they were children, to Ohio, and my father and mother were married April 12, 1825 in Illinois.
They embraced the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter—Day Saints in August, 1831, moving to Jackson County, Missouri, the winter of 1831-32. They bought an inheritance in Jackson County and worked in unison with the rest of the Latter—Day Saints until they were driven from their homes in the winter of 1833-34 into Clay County, Missouri, and in 1835, while in Clay County, Zion’s Camp came up. The Prophet Joseph came and preached at our house, which was the first time I ever saw him While at our house he put me on his knee and blessed me, and I knew him ever afterwards, and he always remembered me.
From there my father was called on a mission to preach the gospel, and left my
mother with three small children without means of support. She taught school and
practiced obstetrics. My father went to Chicago and while there converted my
mother’s father, mother and family. They came to Missouri where mother was
living and helped her look after her family, while father proceeded on his
journey to Kirtland, preaching the gospel. While in Kirtland he worked on the
temple to help finish it. He stayed there most of the winter and received his
Washings and Anointings in the Kirtland Temple.
When he returned from his mission he bought a home in Caldwell County, Missouri, moved there and soon had everything comfortable around him.
In the meantime the persecution still followed the Saints and they were threatened with extermination. Their enemies formed in companies, burned houses, plundered and committed all kinds of crime. My father was thrown into prison with Parley F. Pratt and four others in the Richmond fail, while Joseph and Hyrum Smith, with five others, were taken to Liberty jail. The jail at Richmond not being large enough to hold them all. Father had his preliminary hearing at the same time that Joseph Smith had his Mob Trial at Richmond. Father was told many times that II he would burn his Mormon Bible and quit the Mormon Church he could go free; they said he had no business there, but he chose to be firm to his religion; so he was held in prison all winter, and mother had to support her family the best way she could; her provisions and every thing had been destroyed by the armies. They would even come into her yard and shoot the chickens and kill the pigs. Mother had her house full of women and children, ill the mean time, who had been driven from their homes by the enemy. These women wanted mother to go into the woods to escape the mob, but she told them “No,” that if she had to die, she would die in her own home, so they decided to stay with her.
During that winter my mother would visit the prison where father was confined once every two weeks, taking him provisions; he not having anything provided for him that was fit to eat. The prisoners remained in Richmond jail until Spring, when the Court sat, but as no one appeared against them their case was continued, however, they took a change of venue and were moved to Columbia, Boone County, Missouri. ( Mother was present at the trial,)
In the meantime mother was expelled from the state by order of Governor Lilburn W. Boggs. She went with her father’s family, but she drove her own team from Missouri, leaving father in prison. Just before we left she took us to the prison to let us see our father, The jailer allowed father to step down stairs with us and carry the baby. We left our home and every thing; just packed up what few things we could and came away, we never got a cent for our property.
My mother’s father, Timothy B. Clark was thrown into prison also, but he was very old so they let him out on bail, There were three or four hundred of the Saints that were taken prisoners at the same time under the pretense of being witnesses, but they were all bailed out except those mentioned above. Father said he was present at the time one of the guards was making his brags of the crimes he had committed with the Mormons (it tells about this in church History) when Joseph Smith though in chains got up and rebuked him and commanded him not to open his mouth, for if he did some great calamity would befall him, after which the guard did not say a word.
When the prisoners started for Columbia my father and Parley P. Pratt were chained together, and could lie only on their backs. They were bound that way for three days before they arrived at their destination. It stormed all the time. They found their new quarters more comfortable than they were at Richmond, and they had better food. The place, however, was very dusty and full of cob-webs (it had not been used for a long time,) but the jailer had it cleaned for them. They expected the court to sit the first of July, when they hoped for some change.
In the meantime mother arrived at Quincy, Illinois, with her family, but did not remain there long, as the Saints were just pin- chasing what was then termed Commerce, afterwards called Nauvoo. There were just a few houses situated on the banks of the Mississippi. We continued our journey until we arrived at Commerce, but went on across the river, after a few days, to the Iowa side where my Grandfather Clark and his sons had decided to locate, seven miles west of Montrose, the town where we landed. My mother looked around to find a place for herself and children and found an old house in the middle of a corn field. The people who had lived in it had built a new home, in which they were living. They told mother that she was welcome to move into the old house, but they did not think it was fit for anyone to live in as they had stabled horses hi it nd ft was in very bad condition. After looking at the place, however, mother decided that any place was better than to be right out of doors. The sun was getting so very hot; so she unpacked our things and went to work cleaning up the place. We turned the claboards over that were on the loft swept the dust off them, laid them down again, shoveled the manure out whitewashed the place, and then washed the floor (it had a slabbed floor) and moved in.
A HAZARDOUS MISSION of LOVE
In the meantime my mother had got a letter from father, comparing her to a star, and telling her how dark and dismal every thing seemed since his star was out of sight She Immediately decided to go and visit him, and be there at the trial; so she went to Nauvoo to see Joseph Smith and tell him what she was thinking of doing and ask his counsel. He laid his hands on her head and blessed her and told her to go. He said “Sister Phelps, perhaps you can accomplish more than we can, we have done our best to get those prisoners liberated, but all our plans have faiIed.” She engaged an old lady by the name of Stevenson to stay with her children while she was gone and made arrangements with her brother, a young man, John Wesley Clark, to accompany her to Columbia. It being one hundred fifty (150) miles and she would have to go on horseback. It rained a good deal of the time after they started and all streams were badly swollen and dangerous. Some men, who were on the other side of the river, seeing her about to go into the river, called to her, telling her not to go in or she would be drowned as the water was so deep, but she tucked up her feet and started in. She knew the animal she rode was safe and she arrived on the other side safely. These men wanted to know what her business was that she would venture her life in that way. She told them she was going to get her husband out of prison ( but, of course, she did not know how ) ; they said, “Call as you come back and tell us what luck you have.”
She and her brother arrived in Columbia, Boone County, in safety where they found Brother Orson Pratt, Parley P. Pratt’s brother. He had also come to attend the trial. The prisoners were arraigned again, but no one appeared against them, so they continued the case again. The jailer and his wife had made their brags that they had had several in the prison who had died of old age, because they would just continue their cases and keep them in prison. They allowed mother to stay in prison with father, but, of course, they searched her before they allowed her to go in. When she got in she could stay in all night and she and father could talk as much as they wanted to. At this time father, Parley P. Pratt and a Mr. King Follet planned to break jail; mother taking the news to my Uncle John and Orson Pratt.
The people were going to have a big celebration on the Fourth of July, and when the door opened for supper father was to grab it and slip out, Parley P. Pratt was to go also; he was not to let anything hinder him. They planned to break jail just as the sun was going down. On the Fourth the prisoners took a piece of white shirt and cut red letters that spelled the word “Liberty,” which they fastened to the piece of white cloth, and got a pole from the jailer and put it out of the window. This pleased the people so that they took the prisoners some of the public dinner.
Orson Pratt and Uncle John pretended to start for home, taking mother’s horse with them, they had three horses. Mother’s horse was for Brother Follet. They told the jailer they were going to leave mother there to visit with her husband longer, but in reality mother was giving up her horse and trusting in the Lord for her deliverance. as she knew they would be so very angry with her after the prisoners had escaped that they would either turn her out or hold her as a prisoner. They went within one-half mile of Columbia and secreted the horses. The prisoners could just see a dry limb of a tree out of the jail window where they would find the horses and the two men to help them on their journey when they got there. Before going my Uncle John gave mother strict orders not to touch the prisoners nor to assist them in any way, as that was a penitentiary act. The prisoners had to go through he kitchen to get out of the jail, so mother left them in the afternoon and went down to the kitchen; they told her what- ever she did not to let the jailer bring their supper until. just as the sun was going down, so she went down and talked with the jailer and his wife. Just as the sun was going down he said; “Well I must go up and give the boys their supper.”
Mother said she sat back on the bed in the kitchen and pretty soon she could hear steps and a rumbling noise, heard the jailer call out, and she said his wife rushed up stairs to where he was ( she weighed about two hundred pounds. ) The jailer had father clinched, but father jumped down two pair of stairs, six steps each, with the jailer’s wife hanging on to one of his arms. He would get rid of her when he jumped, but she would clinch him again when she again reached him, as she could make better progress than he because the jailer held on to him, and in that condition they got down to the kitchen. Here Parley P. Pratt and Mr. Follet made their escape, and left father in the hands of the jailer.
Mother said she did not feel that father would be over powered, she thought she could pray if she could do nothing else. She thought she was whispering a prayer, but they said she hollered just as loud as her voice would let her, and she said “Oh! Thou God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, deliver Thy Servant” Father said he felt as strong as a giant when he heard those words; he just pushed the jailer and his wife off as if they were babies and cleared himself When he got to his horse the enemy had retaken Brother Follet and they had mother’s horse, which she had given up to Mr. Follet. Father was so exhausted that uncle John had to help him on his horse and put the whip in his hand, and that was the last my uncle saw of father until they met in Quincy. It soon commenced to storm and father’s hat was knocked off in the struggle with the jailer, so he was bareheaded.
The enemy returned with Brother Follett on my mother’s horse, which, of course, was pretty plain evidence against her. The jailer called her everything and told her to be gone out of his sight She told him to get her shawl and bonnet and she would leave; he told her to go up stairs and get them, but she said no, for them to bring them to her, as she knew the windows were open up there, and she thought they might throw her out of one. She had paid her board bill and had everything square before that; so, they could not say she owed them anything. A gentleman who had brought in part of the public dinner, seeing the door-ways crowded with men and boys, said to the jailer, "How do you expect this lady to get out of this place;” the jailer said he did not care how she she got out; he wanted her out of his sight, and if she did not get out of his way before dark, he would soon put her out of the way. This gentleman said he would see her safely out and took her by the hand, and as they went out she picked up my father’s hat.
She sat down in the Court House yard, and while there two young men came and wanted her to go to a hotel, they said they would pay her fare, and for her not to stay there and suffer the abuse of the jailer, but she said she felt that people might think she was not just what she ought to be if she went to the hotel, so she did not go.
During this time there was a little boy who had seen all that was going on. He ran home to his mother and told her that the prisoners had broken jail, and that the young man’s wife was down there and the jailer had thrown her out of doors, and said he wished it would get dark and he would soon put her out of the way. The little boy was crying as though his heart would break. His mother told him to go out and tell his father; his father came in and wanted to know what his boy was worrying about, and when he found what the trouble was, he and his wife and the little boy went down to the Court House, where mother was, and when they saw her he said to his wile, “Elizabeth, you take this lady to our home. If her husband were the greatest murderer in the world we could not see anyone in our town treated with such cruelty as this.” Mother said she thought they were true Mends, and so she thanked them and told them she would go with them. As she was going she saw the enemy throw the side- saddle off her horse and put a man’s saddle on it to go after the prisoners. The gentleman and his wife, who had thus aided her, were named Richardson.
They took her to their home, and treated her just as kind as they could treat a mother or daughter, and did everything they could for her comfort. Mr. Richardson and his wife went to the prison with her the next day and she picked up all the little trinkets that she thought might belong to father and took them with her; they also searched around and found her side-saddle. Mr. Richardson was a saddler, so he took it and fixed it up better than ft was before, and got some men to watch out for her horse so that he could get ft for her if they brought ft back. After three day s it was brought back to the livery stable. He went and got ft and took ft home with him; ft was almost dead; they had ridden is so hard. but with good care ft soon was in good shape again.
Mother stayed with these good people ten days; never heard a word as to whether father was dead or alive, but mother was a woman with lots of faith and courage. When she had been here ten days and had not heard a word, she told them she felt as though she could stay no longer. They begged of her to stay as it was not considered safe in that country for a woman to travel alone on account of the outlaws, but Mr. Richardson saw that she was so uneasy and restless, so he told her there was one thing he could do; he would see the mail boy and find out how far he would go on her way, and if ft was safe they were willing to let her go; so arrangements were made with the mail boy for her to travel with him. They had to travel late at night and start out early in the morning, but she told them she could stand it She had preached Mormonism to them all the while she was there and she left a Book of Mormon and a Hymn book with them. She had also sung to them the songs of Zion, as she was a great hand to sing. They made her promise that if ever there was any great calamity coming upon the State of Missouri, that she would write to them.
She left in the afternoon and traveled thirty miles before night, and then got up at daylight and traveled thirty more be fore breakfast. She got her breakfast at the hotel she had stopped at when she was going up to Columbia, at which time she had told them she was going to get her husband out of prison; so, when she came back they wanted to know what success she had. She told them that her husband was out of prison, but she could not tell them whether he was dead or alive, but she wanted some breakfast, after which she would talk to them.
She left the mail boy here. She had to go seven miles to where her father had left some cattle when they moved, as she thought perhaps there would he someone there who could tell her something about the whereabouts of her husband; arriving there, she questioned the people, but they had heard nothing and there had been no one after the cattle, so she did not get off her horse but rode on, although she was very hungry as she had eaten nothing since breakfast. She soon struck the bottoms of the Mississippi River. She had ridden fifty miles and was just starting into the woods ( the timber in that country was very thick, ) and she said this was the first time her courage failed her, she had such a lonesome, dismal feeling come over her, and there was six miles yet to travel before she would reach a hotel, and she did not know what would accost her before she got there because it was getting dark. She looked into the woods as far as she could see and saw a man coming up on horseback, he was a white man, and when he came up, he looked at her and she looked at him and he said; “I wonder if you are not the woman I am looking for?” She said, “I believe you are the man I am looking for;” then he asked what her name was, she told him, after which he told her he was Mr. Follet’s son, and he had a note from my father saying he was all right, and as they had heard nothing from her, feared she might be in prison.
His errand accomplished, Mr. Follet turned around and rode back with mother. They arrived at the hotel safely and stayed there all night. The next day they got to Quincy, where father was. The sisters took her in the bedroom where father was be- fore he knew she had come. He was quite sick from exposure and from being confined in prison for eight months, during which time he had the chills and fever, and then riding horseback and getting so wet. He was three days and nights without anything to eat, not daring to go to any house for food as his enemies were searching the country for him. He would lie down to sleep, while his horse was eating, after having tied the horse to his feet, using the saddle for his pillow.
RELIEF AND SAFETY
After staying in Quincy two days they decided to start for Nauvoo. They found that Orson Pratt and John Wesley Clark had arrived safely in Quincy, after walking all the way. After a few days travel father and mother arrived in Iowa, but when they got there it was not safe for father to stay on account of the enemy; they feared he would be re-arrested at any time. His health was broken down. He counseled with the brethern and they thought he needed a change, so he decided to get a conveyance and take mother and the baby to Kirtland, Ohio, to visit his parents, as mother had never seen them.
In the meantime they arranged for my oldest sister Paulina to stay with a Mr. Foot, and myself and younger sister Harriet to stay at Mr. John R. Murdock’s, my father furnishing our clothing, bedding and a cow. Father had kept Father Murdock’s little boy for seven years when he was preaching the gospel, so he wanted to do a little to pay father back, as father had not charged him anything. Father bought a carriage and span of horses, and he, mother and the baby Joseph started in August, after taking us to Father Murdock’s.
Oh! What a strange place it was, Brother Murdock had just married an old maid, She was very particular and everything had to be done just so, and at just such a time; we had to have just such an hour to eat, go to bed and get up. It seemed like we were in prison; we never were allowed a light to go upstairs to bed, but we would go up, get into bed, hug each other and go to sleep the best we could. They were very particular, however, about making us go to meeting every Sunday, and Mr. Murdock was a school teacher, so he let us go to school. Mrs. Murdock was a fine seamstress and she taught me to sew. I had to knit a half hour every evening after supper was over and the dishes washed She never manifested the least affection, it was just a matter of duty with her. We were taken very sick with the chills and fever, both myself and my sister Harriet were sick six weeks. Well, during that time we had to have better care, but as soon as we got well we went to work again. It was a house of discipline. Mr. Murdock was a very stern man, still they did not abuse us, but we never had the privilege of seeing any of our relatives while we were there. It was ten mouths before mother and father returned.
Father and mother went to Kirtland, Ohio, and visited his father’s family, tried to teach them the gospel, but they did not want anything to do with religion; still they treated them very kindly. They stayed there most of the winter, but early in the spring they went to Indiana; my mother had a sister living there, and here my mother gave birth to a baby boy, whom they called I Jacob. They stayed there a month, and then started on their journey for home, arriving the first of July, 1840.
A HAPPY REUNION
They gathered up what they had left here and there and their children. We were overjoyed at seeing our father and mother again. No tongue could express our feelings at being together again, all alive and well I was then almost eleven years old.
We moved to a town twenty miles from Nauvoo called Macedonia, here we located and soon all were our friends. Father was a carpenter, and we soon gathered things around us and were comfortable. We lived there about a year and a half, which were the happiest days of our lives; then my mother was taken sick and died, leaving her five children, three girls and two boys, the baby one and a half years old. We were all heart-broken and did not know how to manage without mother, She was buried in Nauvoo. She was quite young when she died, only 34 years old, hut hard work and exposure had broken her health, Joseph Smith said she had lived her life very fast and her salvation was sure, Re and Heber C. Kimball both spoke at her funeral.1
*The Documentary History of the Church by Roberts Vol. IV page 513 copying Joseph Smith’s diary has the following:
“Nauvoo, IL, Wednesday 2, 1842. Sister Laura Phelps, wife of Morris Phelps died, age 35 years. She was driven from Jackson County in 1833; was in the persecution of Missouri in 1838, and went from Iowa to Missouri to assist in liberating her husband, and was left in the prison yard when he made his escape; willing to suffer all the abuses a savage horde could inflict upon her to set her companion free from the grasp of his murderous enemies. Her rest is glorious.”
It was now that the knowledge which I had gained at Brother Murdock’s was of such a benefit to me. The next winter my little baby brother, Jacob, was accidentally scalded and died. My father eventually married again; so my home never seemed the same anymore; still father was always ready to give us children good counsel and advice at any time, but was so poor that he was not able to properly support us.
I lived with my mother’s relatives, who lived in Montrose, Iowa, a great deal, and when they and their neighbors had their wool to spin (everybody spun wool in those days) I could always work. I never worked out doing housework, but I used to spin a good deal for other people, making my home at my uncles. (Ezra T. Clark.)
Soon after this my father moved to Nauvoo, partly built a two story frame house, and got things around him so they could live better. The lady he had married was different from my mother. She did the best she could, it was not an easy job. My mother was such a good manager and kept things going. It was very hard for father. He worked on his house part of the time, until he got one room so they could live in it, then he would work on the temple, which took the greatest part of his time.
At this time the persecutions commenced to rage again; the Prophet Joseph’s life was threatened. He was arrested so many times; but there never was anything found against him. Finally in 1844 he saw that he could not stand it much longer, so he planned to leave and go to the Rocky Mountains, but his family persuaded him not to do so, as they thought it was cowardly to leave his church and family; so he came back and decided to stay, let the consequences be what they would. In the meantime Governor Ford had ordered his arrest.
At this time I was nearly fifteen years old, I was almost everywhere there was anything to be seen. I saw the Prophet when he was standing on the frame building delivering his last speech to the Nauvoo Legion.
When he found he had to go to Carthage he wanted a man by the name of Rosecrantz, who was well acquainted with the Governor, to go with him. He sent word by Mr. Rosecrantz asking me if I would go and stay with Mr. Rosecrantz's sick wife while he went to Carthage with Joseph. I went and as they were going they called at the gate, with thefr company of about twenty men, and Joseph Smith asked me if I would bring them out a drink of water. The Prophet said to me “Lord bless you, you shall have a disciple’s reward.” That was the last time I ever saw him alive.
When they arrived at Carthage the Prophet, Hyrum Smith, Willard Richards and John Taylor were put in prison. Of course now Mr. Rosecrantz could do no more good so he returned home, while many of the brethern stayed to see how things were going on; and I went home to father’s place. Then came the awful tragedy — the assassination of the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum in Carthage jail. The Saints were all plunged in grief, not knowing what to do when the sad word came to Nauvoo. The next day the Nauvoo Legion went part way to Carthage to meet the bodies. The inhabitants were all out in the streets, on the housetops and every- where to see if they could get just a glimpse of the martyred Prophet and Patriarch, but they were in a new wagon which had no cover other than green bushes which had been laid over the top of the box, hence they could not be seen. As they drove around to the Mansion (the Prophet’s Home) the people were almost frantic to get one little glimpse of them, but they were driven back by the Marshall and the wagon drove inside of the back gate and the gate was locked. No one was allowed in the yard but the guards and the Prophet’s special friends.
The traitors were in high glee.
My father was at the Mansion all night doing what he could to help, and in the morning he came home early and told me if I would get up l could go down, as he had gotten permission for us to see Joseph and Hyrum as they lay at their home. I went down and saw them and laid my hand on Joseph’s forehead. The blood was oozing out of the wound in his shoulder, and the sheet that was around him was stained with blood; still he looked very natural, but Hyrum had been shot in the face and therefore he did not look very natural The funeral was held at one o’clock that day. The Saints were allowed to go and view the remains.
My father was still working on the temple, as every able bodied man was needed to work in order to get it completed so that the Saints could receive their ordinances. He worked all the next fall and winter, during which time the excitement grew worse; the mob burning houses, and driving the Saints from other settlements into Nauvoo.
In the meantime, Brigham Young was chosen to lead the Saints. The enemy issued orders for his arrest, so he could not hold public meetings or be nn the streets very much.
On January 6th, 1845, after considerable deliberation. I embraced the principal of celestial marriage and was married to Charles C. Rich with the full consent of his first wife, I being his third wife. We lived in the hope of soon moving to the Rocky Mountains, where we could enjoy the rights and liberties of our religion.
The temple was now almost completed, the enemy was raging. The Saints had to guard it night and day to keep it from being destroyed. Early in the Fall of 1845 the enemy came in determined to exterminate or drive the Latter-Day Saints out of the United States. Since there was nothing else they could do, the Saints met with the officers of the enemy and surrendered their arms, and made a promise that they would leave the next spring; they thought during that winter they could have their endowments and do a great deal of work in the temple.
As soon as possible the temple was opened and dedicated to the Lord. They opened it to all worthy Saints, and gave just as many as it was possible their endowments, sealings and ordinances. This only enraged the enemy more, There were Saints working in the temple every day, and a greater part of the night, except Saturdays, giving endowments until the first of February, 1846. During the winter every able bodied person was making wagons, clothing and preparing for the journey, as they expected to start by spring for the Rocky Mountains. In the first part of February the temple was closed and everything was taken down, The spirit of the Lord was greatly manifested during that winter and we all enjoyed the privilege of having our endowments and sealings, and I received all these blessings in the Nauvoo Temple in common with my husband and family.
On the 12th day of February my husband prepared two wagons loaded with provisions, ready to start. He decided to have me leave and take the wagons ( I had two boys to drive them ) to the Iowa side to my uncle Ezra T. Clark’s. Then as quick as he could get ready, he would bring the rest of his family and effects, as lie had no feed for his cattle. We crossed the river on the ice at Montrose and went seven miles to my uncle’s, stayed there one week when my husband and his family arrived, except one wife Eliza whom he left with her baby but a few days old in Nauvoo with her mother. My father could not come at that time. he had to wait until summer because of lack of funds.
We went from my uncle’s to my husband’s father, Joseph Rich, stayed there a week until the company was ready to leave Sugar Creek, which was where the main company was camped; then we started on our journey to the Rock Mountains in earnest; traveling every day, more or less. It rained and snowed and we had a terrible spring. Finally we arrived at Mt. Pisgah, Iowa. which is located on a fork of the Grand River. There the whole company stopped for nearly a month , This was in April. They decided to have some of the Saints stay here. My husband and family being called to stop and look after the Saints that were left; Father Huntington having been appointed president and Mr. Rich his counselor, but Mr. Huntington was very old and feeble, so could not do much. He was soon taken sick and died. leaving the whole care of the company on my husband, Charles C. Rich.
About this time the United States Government called on the saints for volunteers, and about five hundred of the strongest men were chosen to go with what was known as the Mormon Battalion.
The main body of the saints pressed forward to Council Bluffs, where they expected to make their winter quarters; while at Mt. Pisgah they had done considerable planting, so the poor saints who were left there could harvest what had been planted for provisions for themselves. This helped us out considerably. While we were at Mt. Pisgah, Mr. Rich’s wife Eliza and baby with her mother joined us and were with us after that. The chills and fever afflicted us and about seventy of the saints died there in the wilderness, most of them being buried without coffins.
The saints all
seemed to depend on my husband for every- thing, and there were not nearly
enough well people to take care of the sick ones. Our family were all sick, my
husband was very sick but through the blessings of the Lord we all lived. In the
fall we moved our log cabins down close to the river in the woods where we would
not have to haul our wood so far in the winter. We fixed up our cabins as
comfortable as we could under the circumstances, and lived there that winter.
There were three of Brigham Young’s wives there whom my husband had to look
after, Zina Young being one of them.
In March of 1847 my husband got well enough to ride up to the bluffs, to where the main company had located for the winter, and saw President Young. He sent teams back to move us up from Mt. Path to the Bluffs. We arrived at Winter Quarters the latter part of March. While we were here my husband took a trip back to Nauvoo to see if he could dispose of some of his property; he was gone two months and brought lils father and mother back with him to go to the Rocky Mountains with us. In the meantime my father had arrived at the Bluffs with his family, but he did not have the means to go farther that year, so stayed there.
THE WESTERN TREK
My husband fitted up his wagons and teams and we left Winter Quarters in June, 1847; he having been placed in charge of a company of one hundred wagons. We traveled to the Elkhorn River, here we had to wait until all had crossed the river, as we crossed on rafts, and Mr. Rich had to wait until they all got over so he could tie the raft and bring the rope with him. There was one young man by the name of Weatherby, who was killed by the Indians while we were here, he died in our tent.
We traveled two abreast the whole distance of the Platt River, for greater safety. There were thousands of buffalo on every side, which the men would kill, so we had plenty of meat. There were also hundreds of Indians to be seen at frequent intervals all the time we were traveling up the Platt River. They were very cunning, and we had to watch them very closely to see that they did not steal everything we had in our wagons. They would shoot arrows into our cattle and sheep; so we found it took more hands to herd the cattle and drive the wagons than we had anticipated.
The Saints had made an agreement among themselves that anyone who had brought a hired man or boy with them, should keep that hired man or boy until after harvest the next year so that no one would go hungry or starve after he got to the valley. Mr. Rich thought he would have to hire two more men or boys to drive two of the wagons. There was one of his wives Emeline beside myself who had no children; so we volunteered to drive the wagons until we got to the valley, He did not think we could, but we persuaded him to try us one day and see. We did so well that we had our teams every day after that as regular as the men did until we arrived in the valley. We did not grieve or mourn over it, we had some very nice times when the roads were not so bad. We would make the mountains ring with our songs, and sometimes the company would get together and we would have a dance in the evening on the grass. We did not mourn but we rejoiced that we were going to the Rocky Mountains where we would be free to live our religion. and be acknowledged as wives. We felt that we wanted to do everything in our power to help Mr. Rich out, as his children were all small and he needed our help. I had never had very good health until I started on this trip, and I got to felling so well that I felt it was a pleasure to take hold and do anything that lay inmy power to help.
When we got to the Black Hills there was no water for the teams they were almost crazy for want of it, and when we got to the bed of the River they had to dig holes to get a little water. but they could not get half enough. Some of the men were greedy and wanted their teams to have all the water they wanted, which would not leave enough for the other teams. Mr. Rich had charge of the company and he had to appoint men to see that justice was done to each team.
When we arrived at the South Pass we met President Young and Company returning to Winter Quarters, they having gone to the valley and located Salt Lake City and appointed officers to act in the stake until they returned the next year; John Smith having been appointed President of the new stake in the valley and my husband, Charles C. Rich, first counselor and John Young second counselor, President Young and his company stayed with us one day to talk and preach to the people, telling us what to do and how to do, and whatever we did to sustain the authorities that were placed over us, and we all felt well after that and felt as though we would do our duty as far as we could.
and his company resumed their journey east- ward and we traveled on to the
valley. The roads were terrible, the mountains bad, the teams weak and it was
very cold, but we were not discouraged; we felt that we would soon reach our
destination, and that we would have a home in very deed when we got there. While
on our journey Mr. Rich’s mother was taken very sick.
We arrived in Immigration Canyon on the first of October, 1847, and the longest place on my dress was just a little below my knees, I had walked through the brush, driving my team to keep them in the road, and could not stop to untangle my dress when it got fastened in the brush, but had to walk on, leaving part of my dess behind. We arrived in what is now Salt Lake City on the 2nd day of October, 1847, and found just a little fort of ten acres, and a few people who had arrived before. Mr. Rich looked around and picked out a place for a camp. The first thing we did was to care for his mother. We fixed a bed in one of the tents for her, and made her as comfortable as possible, but she only lived three days after our arrival, she being the first white woman to die in Salt Lake City.
HOMES IN THE WEST
On Sunday, the 3rd, the newly appointed Stake President and his counselors called a meeting and were voted in and sustained in their new positions and took charge after that, Of course everything looked like a desert, and to look on one side it looked dismal and lonesome, but on the other hand we all rejoiced that we had arrived at our destination, where we could now commence to live our religion according to the dictates of our conscience and be acknowledged as wives, and we all felt like taking hold and doing our duty.
During that winter of 1847-48 we had a hard time, as provisions were scarce and there was a big family; my husband having six wives and six children at that time, but we were all willing to help him. We had a few cows and sheep and one or two horses, hut they were all poor and some of the cattle that we had worked on the road, which were in reality not fit to eat, but we were obliged to kin some for meat Lu order to subsist and make our provisions hold out. We soon found that we had to live on rations or we would not have any bread stuff, so we lived on three ounces a day for a great length of time, but we had milk and we could dig segoes and cook greens and thus we existed. In the spring we plowed the ground, planted gardens and made ditches, but as quick as the crops came up fairly good the crickets and grass- hoppers came and ate everything. We all had to turn out and fight them, until our hands were blistered, but most of the crops were destroyed, still we raised a little corn; as the seagulls came to our relief. They would eat crickets and grasshoppers until they were full and then they would throw them up and eat more. The corn however, did not get ripe before the frost came, but there was quite a lot of vegetables raised.
Edward I., Amasa M. Mary Ann P. Rich, Charles C. Rich, Ezra C.,
Mary Ann Pomeroy, Minerva Woolley William L. Taken about 1882
We had a Harvest Festival on August 10, 1848. Everything we could scrape up that had been raised that summer was brought and exhibited.
In September 1848 President Young arrived with several other companies, most of the Twelve being with him. At the October conference they reorganized the Stake throughout my husband were released from his position as first counselor, and sustained president of the Stake with John Young and Willard Snow as his counselors. John Smith was ordained Patriarch.
September 25th, 1848, my first child was born, a daughter, whom we called Laura. When seven months old she took the whooping-cough and died; then I felt that my all was gone.
February 12th, 1849, Mr. Rich was ordained one of the Twelve Apostles, Brigham Young acting as voice: four being ordained — Charles C. Rich, Lorenzo Snow, Erastus Snow, Franklin Richards — at the same time to fill the vacancies of apostates and others.
At about this time the gold fever raged very high, everybody was talking of the gold fields in California. We had lived terribly hard all winter, having little that was comfortable, and we had to eat frost bitten corn which we would grind in little hand mills, but we had plenty of milk all the time and made butter; so we were better off than a good many of our neighbors. Immigrants came streaming in, In the spring of 1849, bound for California, with plenty of provisions and clothing, and we could get any amount of provisions at a very low rate because they found they could not carry all with them as some of them in their hurry would go the rest of the distance on pack animals; so, our hard times were over as far as provisions and clothing were concerned. They wanted our fresh animals to continue their journey, which we exchanged for provisions and clothing.
In the fall of 1849 my husband was called by Brigham Young to go to California and look after Church affairs there and he was gone on this mission one year.
Prior to this, however, my husband had moved us out of the fort and built some houses, his first wife having two rooms, then on another lot he built a house for his other wives, and bought a farm in Centerville, where he moved some of us; so some of us lived on the farm and some in Salt Lake City, with his first wife living close by. Each wife had her own things separate and we were as comfortable as possible under the circumstances.
During the summer of 1849 the Saints built a large bowery and had a regular harvest feast on the 24th day of July. that being the first summer President Young was here since his first arrival. We had a fine season for raising grain and vegetable, and the Saints were all feeling happy with the prospects before them.
Mr. Rich, having been called to go to California, started October 7th, 1849, with a small company of Saints, all men, as they had been ordered to go the southern route, which had been traveled only by Jefferson Hunt and a few Mormon Batallion men and trappers, and would have to make their own roads and be directed by the looks of the mountains which way to go. They had a very hard trip. There was a company of gentiles on the trail with them, who were going to the gold fields. They had hired Jefferson Hunt as their guide, but they soon left the saints and would not listen to Jefferson Hunt, but took a short cut for California against the advice of their guide. The result was most of them perished in Death Valley of thirst. Hunt refused to go with them unless they would follow him.
The saints all depended upon Jefferson Hunt and Mr. Rich to direct them the way to go, as they had been appointed their leaders. They suffered from want of water considerably, but not one of them was harmed by the Indians. They finally arrived in safety at what was known as Cajon Pass, near Williams’ ranch ll California. They were very nearly starved, however, when they got there, as their provisions had run out, but Mr. Williams, the owner of the ranch, was a good friend to them; he had plenty of cattle and provisions and furnished them with means. Then the company made their way on horseback to San Francisco, up to the gold mines; there my husband met Amasa Lyman; he having gone the northern route the spring before to California. Mr. Lyman was one of the Apostles then. They worked in unison and gathered what means they could from the Saints in California., and in the fall of 1850 they returned to Salt Lake City, via the northern route, bringing considerable means with them for the Church.
During the time Mr. Rich was in California, in I\4av 1850, I had another daughter born, to whom we gave the name of Mary Ann.
A CALL TO SAN BERNARDINO
That winter the Authorities of the Church decided to make a settlement in Southern California for the gathering of the Saints from the Southern States and the Hawaiian Islands, and they selected Mr. Rich and Amasa Lyman to take a company and go down and purchase land to make a home where the Saints could locate. They had asked Mr. Rich’s advice regarding the same, and he told them he thought there could be a road made down that way, so President Young said as he was a man of considerable experience they would rely on his judgment and send a company. Accordingly President Young called on some of the Saints, men of experience, to go with Mr. Rich and Mr. Lyman to help settle the place (Southern California ) There were about three hundred people in the company, my husband taking myself and two other wives Emeline and Harriet on this trip, as he did not know how long he would have to stay there.
We traveled in two different companies on account of the feed for the stock. We got along all right until we got to Parowan, the last settlement; here we found George A. Smith, who was just founding a settlement there, as he thought it would eventually be a good place for the Saints to gather. From that time on we had our roads to make, and traveling was pretty slow, as we soon came to high mountains. The road was very rocky, water scarce, and we had to cross three or four deserts. Our animals almost perished iii crossing these for the want of water, and we suffered considerable. Some places we would have to let the wagons down the mountains with ropes, but we got along without any sickness or deaths, for which we were very thankful. When we finally got across the last desert we had a good many cattle strung along the trail, as they were too weak to travel further, not having any water to drink; but the men would take water back in kegs and cans to give the cattle, so, in that way we
eventually got them all over.
Our journey was now almost at an end; we soon arrived at what we called the Cajon Pass and got down into the valley. We camped in two different places, about a half mile apart in order to have our cattle separate, but we held our meetings together. Mr. Rich and Amasa Lyman went on ahead on horseback to make preparations for our coming; so when we got down there they had staked out the places for our camps, which were in a Sycamore grove, and then they started around the country to see what they could do. When they got to Mr. Williams’ ranch they found a great deal of flour and bacon which the soldiers, who had been there, had left. This they bought at a very low figure, but it did not last long, so after riding around for about a week they decided they would go to San Francisco for provisions. They went to San Pedro and took a boat from there to San Francisco, there they borrowed money from the Saints and bought provisions for the company, then returned. When they arrived at San Pedro we had wagons there so we could unload the provisions right off the ship onto the wagons.
Mr. Rich and Mr. Lyman while on this trip made arrangements for some money to buy a ranch with, enough to make the first payment, and they rode around and worked diligently for two months trying to buy a ranch; after which time they finally bought the ranch which now embraces the City of San Bernardino. They closed the bargain with the Lugo Brothers the last of September 1851, and paid over the money for the first payment.
As soon as they had made the first payment on the ranch, and had the papers all made out and everything secure, the Saints commenced moving onto the ranch, on which there were two old missions and a few old houses. We fixed these up, remodeled them, and lived in them the first year or so. Amasa Lyman having charge of one and Mr. Rich the other.
The Indians soon commenced to make trouble for the Spaniards so they lived in Forts, and we also had to move into Forts, hut we prospered, and our cattle and horses were fat. Soon other people came in and bought our fat cattle at a big price because they were gentle. The Saints built houses, made ditches and worked almost as one family, they were so united. In the spring they got a surveyor to lay the town off into city lots, and they named it San Bernardino, by which name it is known to this day. They all got their lots and farms; the ranch was over twenty-five miles square, so there was plenty of room for us all, and we all commenced putting out vineyards and making our homes lovely.
It was a fine climate, no snow falling during the six years we were there. The people built grist-mills and saw-mills, and a store. Other people, strangers, came in and brought stores with them, so everything seemed alive, We built a comfortable house and had things comfortable and good. During this time one of Mr. Rich’s wives, Emeline went to Salt Lake City, which left just Harriet and myself in California.
In 1852 I had a son born and we called him William Lyman, and in 1854 I had twins born, a boy and a girl, we called the boy Morris and the girl Minerva, but when they were a year old Morris died. In 1856 I had another son born, to whom we gave the name of Amasa Mason.
During the six years we were there my husband made a trip once or twice a year to Salt Lake City to look after his family there. At the end of the six years President Young expressed himself that he would like to have Amasa Lyman and Mr. Rich come back to Salt Lake City as they had got such a lovely place started and everything in such a flourishing condition in San Bernardino; so, my husband decided to take his family hack, Amasa Lyman went with us, he, however, left a portion of his family in San Bernardino at that time.
CALLED BACK To UTAH
We fixed our wagons and teams as comfortable as we could and left San Bernardino, taking all our effects with us, but leaving our home, furniture and ranch in charge of a Mr. Ebenezer Hanks, as agent for the Church who was then a share holder with my husband and Mr. Lyman.
We left in April, 1857. The road, having been traveled considerable, we had quite a pleasant time coming back in comparison to what we had going down, and when we came to the deserts my husband, who had been over them several times, knew better how to prepare for them, so we did not suffer coming back as we did going down. The Indians were not so bad, we let them take our cattle off and herd them, as we were just a small company and they knew just where the best feed was, so we needed their help, and as they were friendly we trusted them and they always brought the cattle back. Of course we would pay them for what they did. Amasa Lyman and his son, F. M. Lyman, traveled in the same company with us. When we came to the mountain meadows one of my husband’s dear little girls, Tunis — Harriet’s child — took convulsions and died, which was very sad for all of us. We embalmed her as best we could and brought the body on to Salt Lake for burial with the body of Morris, my twin boy who died in California.
My father and brother met us seventy-five miles below Salt Lake City. They knew I was on the road and as they had not seen me for ten years, thought they could not let me pass without seeing me. They traveled two days and one night with us, and the next day we arrived in Salt Lake City, which was in June, 1857. We found all well at home.
First row, L-R: Ezra C., Mary Ann P. Rich, Edward I., Amasa M.
Second row, L-R: Mary Ann Poneroy, William L., Minerva Woolley
My husband decided to take us both, Harriett and me, up to the farm in Centerville to live as our homes in Salt Lake City had been sold while we were in California. This was a great disappointment to me, for Salt Lake City always seemed like it should be my home, but we went to Centerville to live.
The distance we had traveled from San Bernardino to Salt Lake City was eight hundred miles. We lived in our wagons from the first of April when we left California, until the first of December, and when we did move into our house, it was just one small room. but it served to keep the wind and rain from us.
In the meantime President Young was making great preparations to have a big celebration on the 24th of July in Cottonwood Canyon. My husband fitted up our two wagons and took all of his wives to the celebration except Harriett and me. We had just come back from California, Nearly all of the Saints went to the canyon and were enjoying themselves; they had taken their picnics with them and were hunting and fishing. While all this merry-making was going on, a messenger arrived bringing the news that Johnson's Army had started for Utah with orders to exterminate the Mormons, and they were expected to take possession of Salt Lake city. This, of course, put an end to the celebration.
Then came a terrible excitement. Everybody was wondering what to do. The brethern counseled together and the first thing they decided on was to bring all the Saints from San Bernardino in order to have their forces as near together as possible. There were a great many of the Saints that did not have faith enough to leave their home in San Bernardino and make the sacrifice, so they remained. Still, there were many who did come. In the meantime the men all rallied together and did everything in their power to keep the army out that winter, as it was getting late. They formed into companies and went out trying to detain the army during the greater part of the winter; all the able bodied men were out my husband and his oldest son, Joseph, being with them. When the cold weather came on, the army encamped at Fort Bridger, Wyoming, for the winter. Brigham Young was determined that the army should cool off in Wyoming while he (Brigham Young) could get some word to his good friend Colonel Thomas L. Kane in Philadelphia, asking him to visit Washington and intercede for our people. President Young got word to Colonel Kane and the President Commissioned him to come to Utah and settle the difficulty if possible. Colonel Kane made the long trip in midwinter at his own expense down the Atlantic coast across the Isthmus of Panama and up the Pacific to Los Angeles and overland to Utah. Here he consulted Brother Brigham and the brethern and later went boldly into the enemy camp at Fort Bridger and convinced the newly appointed governor Alfred Cumming that he the governor — would be safe and welcome in Salt Lake City and Utah. The Governor accompanied Colonel Kane back to Salt Lake and was kindly and properly received by Brigham Young and the Saints. Governor Cumming found all records safe and in order and so reported to the President of the United States. Fortunately Governor Cumming was a good man, a Southern gentleman. In the meantime the Saints had decided to abandon the city if necessary and destroy it.
Early in the spring of 1858 the Saints abandoned the city and all points north and moved south to Provo and other points south. Governor Cumming did all he could to quiet our fears Finally President Young and the Brethern met the Governor and army officers and an agreement was reached by which the army was allowed to enter the valley. Later the President of the U. S sent a Commission out to Utah to settle the difficulty, if possible. This Commission found no wrong had been done except by Federal appointees. The army had been sent out first and the investigators afterwards. This was a great injustice to the Saints and “an expense of 15 million dollars to the United States at a time when the government could ill afford it,” ( Bancroft’s History of Utah. ) My husband had moved his entire family down to Provo in April and this caused great suffering and hardship for everyone.
They made an agreement that the army could pass through Salt Lake City and camp at what was afterward called Camp Floyd, fifty miles southwest of Salt Lake in Cedar Valley, and that the Saints were to return to their homes, So, we returned in June after the army had entered the valley. Having been driven from our homes we had not raised anything, except winter wheat which had been planted the fall before, so we were almost destitute, but thankful that we were again permitted to live in our homes. In the meantime the army came, but they camped entirely away from the Saints, so they did not interfere with us very much, and they had brought many teams and wagons with them that were very beneficial to us after all, as they exchanged them for our provisions etc.
Following this I was located in Centerville, Davis County. My health was broken down and I was sick most of the time, but still I got better after I got back to the Utah valley, it being cooler. In 1859 1 had another daughter born; we called her Paulina. In 1860 Mr. Rich and Amasa Lyman were called to preside over the European Mission. We all lived in Centerville now, except Mr. Rich’s first wife (who lived in Salt Lake City,) and we remained here during the time he was gone.
In the fall of 1860 my baby Paulina died, was buried in Salt Lake City, and in 1862 my husband returned from his mission, In 1863 he was called to go to Bear Lake, Idaho, to see if he thought there could be a settlement made there where white people could live. He immediately fitted out twenty men and horses, as they could not go in wagons over the mountains. They explored the country and decided there could be a settlement made and then came back.
As they came back through Cache Valley they called on thirty families to go to Bear Lake that fall and make their homes there and see what they could do toward helping to settle the country; then Mr. Rich came back and reported to President Young what he had done. President Young prophesied that Bear Lake would yet become a great country, and appointed Mr. Rich to go right back as soon as conference was over and see to locating the families and laying out the town site so they could live there that winter. Immediately after conference was over he returned to Bear Lake Valley and stayed as long as the weather would permit. He told the new settlers where to build their Meeting House and where to locate their town (they were all living close together.) He placed a man in charge, then he came back, It was about the last of November when he returned to Salt Lake City. He sold his farm and everything except his lot in Salt Lake City ( he had a fine orchard there, ‘) and commenced preparing to move early in the spring to Bear Lake.
In March, 1864, Mr. Rich fitted up three wagons with pro visions, garden seeds and vegetables of all kinds to plant, to take to Bear Lake with him. I was going also; had my things all packed up, but Brother Young advised Mr. Rich not to try to take any of his family so early in the season, so I did not go. Mr. Rich went with the the teams and got part way; but he could not get over the mountains and had to come back, but the rest of the company, including his two boys Joseph and Charley who had charge of his teams, went around by Mink Creek and Soda Springs and finally arrived in Bear Lake after a long hard trip.
As soon as spring conference was over Mr. Rich started with pack animals to go and find out what the people were doing in Bear Lake by that time. They had had a very open winter and a good deal of long grass, so their animals got plenty to eat They were snowed in, but they had plenty of provisions so none of the families suffered. Before my husband got there they had commenced to plant gardens, make ditches and work on their farms. Other Latter-day Saints, hearing of a new settlement, commenced to settle there. They raised a good many fine vegetables the first year, but on account of having to make everything new it made it hard for them. They settled the towns of Paris, Fish Haven, St Charles, Bloomington, Montpelier and liberty that first summer, 1864. President Young and Heber C. Kimball and most of the Twelve decided they would take a trip up there t? how the Saints were getting along. They went in May, 1864, and were highly pleased with the country and thought it would yet become a great place. They traveled from one end of the valley to the other, looking into the resources and eating fish, as there were so many fine trout in Bear Lake at that time.
Mr. Rich soon returned to Salt Lake with teams and wagons to move his family up there. We started — all his family except the first wife — who lived in Salt Lake City, bid farewell to Centerville in the middle of June, 1864. I never had much love for Centerville although I liked the people there. We had lived so comfortable in California, and then to have to go to Centerville after that made it very hard for me.
which took him
away until late in the fall. The frost came and destroyed our vegetables and our
wheat did not get ripe so our prospects for provisions that winter were very
poor. We knew we would have to haul our flour over the mountains from Cache
Valley to live on through the winter.
About this time my children all had the measles, but they all got well. My husband located his father not far from where we lived, he being quite old and feeble.
Teams from our settlement went to Cache Valley for flour, but before they got back, it had snowed so hard they were unable to reach the settlements without the aid of other teams, which were sent out to meet them and help break the roads for them. That winter proved to be an exceptionally hard one, and as we had no place for our stock a great many of them died. We were uncomfortable ourselves, still we did manage to live.
My husband, after doing all he could here, went to attend the Legislature in Salt Lake City, as he was a member, and he did not return until spring. In the meantime most of our provisions were gone : we would grind wheat in a coffee mill, but later some men erected a little hand mill at the mouth of the canyon to grind wheat, and we would grind it on that, and would eat it, bran and all. We had plenty of potatoes, but they were nearly all frozen as we did not have good cellars to put them in, and it was so cold we almost froze to death. No one can tell how we suffered there the first and second years. It made it all the harder for me after living in a warm climate like Southern California. The men could not get from one settlement to another the first winter except on snow shoes.
After passing through that second winter and the snow went off, the Saints wanted to have a meeting and a great many of them desired to know if they could not leave and go to some other valley; Mr. Rich told them, yes,” all could go if they wanted to as he had no right to hold them, hut he said as he had been called to help make these settlements, if there was not another family left but his own he would stay until he was released. They con eluded that if Mr. Rich would stay they would stay also, at least most of them; and they were never sorry for it, because the climate soon commenced to moderate, and they built grist-mills and sawmills and made ditches and put up fences, surveyed the towns,
We arrived in Paris, Bear Lake County, on the 28th day o& June 1864, after a very rough time crossing the mountains; found just a few log huts which had been erected the winter before. many of them being vacant as the builders had moved to other settlements, leaving their little huts behind them, and other immigrants coming in would occupy them.
In the meantime, my father arrived and settled in Montpelier with his family. My husband secured a little log room for each of his wives, and we each had a lot on which our one room was located, the same having a dirt roof, no doors and just a hole in the side for windows. The men, however, went to work and sawed lumber in sawpits and made doors and cupboards and put some floors in the houses. We had a great deal to do to prepare for the winter. My husband made a trip down to Salt Lake to bring his first wife and his father to Bear Lake that summer, and commenced to build comfortable houses, but it was several years before we got a good house (my husband had so much public work to do that he could not get better houses for us at that time. His motto always was “Church work before Private”) I put my rag carpet up over head to keep the dirt from coming down on us and tried to fix things as comfortable as possible, but could not do much.
Two months after we arrived in Bear Lake I had a baby boy horn whom we called Ezra.
We had quite a flock of sheep and could have wool to work Tip, as much as we could possibly handle, but we had our families and our work to do, therefore it was hard for us to get along; still we did spin and weave considerable.
In 1885 my husband’s father was paralyzed and in 1866 he died of old age in Paris, Bear Lake County, Idaho, at the age of 80. He was a patriarch in the Church.
On April 9th, 1868 I had another son born to whom we gave the name of Edward, and in 1874 I had a son born, but he did not live. We called him Jacob.
We lived in our log houses for several years, then our sons grew up and they burned lime and made brick to help build houses for their mothers. With what means our husband could get to ether he managed, with the help of the boys, to put up four brick houses all the same year and made us comfortable. Mr. Rich went to the Legislature every winter in Salt Lake City and returned on snow shoes. Altogether, he made thirteen trips on snow shoes over the mountains.
The first few years after our arrival in Bear Lake the Shoshone and Bannock Indians would come in large companies and camp near us, demanding bread, beef, etc. For several years they came about twice a year, and we would have to get a man who could make them understand, to explain to them our right to live there, as they thought we were intruding upon them, this being their hunting ground; we had to furnish them with blankets, clothing, flour and meat (it generally took several beef each year to supply them) in order to keep peace with them, and it proved uccessfu1, as we never had any trouble with them. My husband always knew how to manage them. Old Indian Chiefs will come to my home to this day and talk about the big Chief, meaning Mr. Rich, and say “We heap like him.”
In 1877, when the St. George Temple was dedicated, Mr. Rich went down to attend the dedication. That same spring they decided to build a temple at Logan and he was appointed one of the committee to provide and keep things going to build it, so, he was going night and day for a year or two, seeing that the men were properly supplied.
In 1875 my daughter Minerva was married to Hyrum S Woolley in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City and they went to the Hawaiian Islands on a mission, and were gone four years. My other daughter, Mary Ann, married Ashbel Pomeroy, Jan nary 10, 1875, and my eldest son, William married Ella Pomeroy, who is a sister to Ashbel Pomeroy, in 1877, receiving their endowments soon after.
I was sick continually for eight years, no one thought I could live, but after I got moved into my new house — I was then fifty years old — my health commenced to improve. The first winter I was in my new home, however, I was so sick I never got out of doors all winter.
In 1876 my father, Morris Phelps died at Montpelier, Idaho, and was buried there. He was a patriarch and had given mans blessings to the people there.
In 1877 my daughter Minerva and her husband returned from their mission. They had two children but their health was poor and their little girl died soon after their return.
THE FAMILY REUNION
In 1879, when Mr. Rich was seventy years old, we had a family reunion of the Rich’s; every one of the family was present. Mr. Rich afterwards often said, in speaking of it, that he could truly say that seeing his family all around him was the happiest day of his life.
In 1880 Mr. Rich, who was then seventy-one years of age, suffered a stroke of paralysis. We sent to Salt Lake City for a doctor, and after two weeks the doctor ordered him taken to Salt Lake City. Myself and another of his wives Emeline went to Salt Lake City with him to take care of him. We went to the home of his first wife Sarah D. He had just built a new house for her there. She had returned to Salt Lake City after staying in Bear Lake three winters as my husband found it was necessary to have a home in Salt Lake City, he having to be down there so much Just before he was stricken down I had another son married, Amasa M. He married Mary Jacobs in the Salt Lake Endowment House September 30, 1880. They stayed at my home and took care of my affairs while I was in Salt Lake City. My husband improved quite rapidly for a time and we had hopes that he would yet get so he could walk, as just his left side was paralyzed, but he never did. He never walked again.
We stayed four months in Salt Lake City and then returned home to Paris, taking him with us, going via Evanston, Wyoming. Our sons came with conveyances and met us at Evanston. We arrived home with Mr. Rich on the 22nd day of February, 1881. We found all well at home and I can truly say that was one of the happiest days of my life when I returned home, because we were in hopes that Mr. Rich would yet entirely recover, but when warm weather came we could see no material change in him., and for two more years no great change, he was still helpless and it took a great deal of care and patience to look after him, still we all did it with love and affection. I could never see the beauty of polygamy as I saw it then, for no one wife could have taken care of him as we did. He moved from one home to the next every week. The first two years his intellect was bright and he made his will and divided his property, and had everything fixed just as he wanted it. After the second year he gradually grew worse and when the end came he had been paralyzed three years and one month. He died on the l7the day of November, 1883, leaving five wives, Eliza having died before he was paralyzed. He was the father of fifty-one children, several of them, however, died in their infancy.
Most of his family were present at the time of his death, a portion of his first wife’s family coming from Salt Lake City, where they lived. After his death we all tried to carry out every request he had made before his death, concerning his burial, etc., his wives preparing his body for burial. He was buried on the 21st of November 1883, each branch of his family going into the room and taking their last farewell of their noble husband and father. His own sons were his pallbearers. The funeral services were held in the Paris First Ward Chapel. It was a very cold and stormy day. We could not wish him back after seeing him suffer and in the condition he had been for three long years. He had often wished that he could go. Apostle Moses Thatcher was the main speaker at his funeral — a wonderful sermon.
Now we were left alone as it were, still we had our children, some grown, and whom we could lean and council with. That winter was a very hard one, and we had a late spring.
During that winter my son-in-law Dr. Pomeroy, decided to go Washington State and look for a location for a home. He had graduated in medicine in New York leaving his wife and children that winter in Paris and in the spring be bought a place in Cheney, Spokane County, Washington, and the practice of another doctor and sent for his family to come. They went to him in May and still live there, and he has a good practice.
In the spring 1884 the temple at Logan was dedicated; I attended the dedication. and the following winter went to Logan and worked in the Temple; my sister Mrs. Pauline Lyman, also worked with me. We were doing work for our dead relatives, which we had commenced in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, but we could not finish it there as ft had to be done in a temple.
During this time my oldest son was set apart for counselor to the Bishop of Paris First Ward. He built a fine new house just adjoining my lot My boys were all in the stock business then, except Edward, he being too young.
In 1886 I decided to go to Salt Lake City and have my sons, Ezra and Edward attend the University of Utah. This I did and kept house for them. Ezra attended the University previously.
While I was in Salt Lake City word came that my son, Amasa M. had been called on a mission to the Southern States and expected to start in January 1887. I met him at Logan and we worked in the temple together a few days, then he came on to Salt Lake City and started on his mission about the sixth of January.
In the meantime, I received word that my oldest son, William L had been called to move to Montpelier to be Bishop there; so, that left no one at my home to look after things. He moved to Montpelier and rented a dirt roof house, the only house he could get and lived there for a few months, which was very hard for him after having lived in his nice new home in Paris only six weeks.
to Bear Lake early in the spring to look after affairs, as we had quite a lot of
cattle and our ranch to look after He had a sister living there so he could make
his home with her As soon as vacation came Edward and I returned home We stored
our things expecting to return the next fall.
In the fall of 1887 Edward and I went hack to Salt Lake City so he could resume his studies, leaving Ezra in Bear Lake to take charge of the ranch. In the spring of 1888 Edward completed his course at the University and we returned to Paris. and the following winter he taught school at Bloomington, and in the spring of 1889 he went to Montpelier to clerk for William and Ezra, as they had bought a wagon and machine store there.
In March of 1889 my son Amasa returned from his mission and in August of the same year Ezra was called to go on a mission to England. He left Salt Lake City on the 9th of October, his brother William having accompanied him as far as Salt Lake City. In the meantime, we were prospered and got along as well as could be expected.
The first of November 1889 Edward came home from Montpelier to teach school in Paris, he taught six months and was home all winter, and in 1890, not being satisfied with his education, he decided to study medicine. On September 20, 1890, he left home to go to Philadelphia to attend the Jefferson Medical College there. I can truly say my heart was broken, I felt as though I bad more than I could bear not having one boy left at home with me. If I had said “don’t go” he would have stayed home, but I could not as I knew he never would feel satisfied with the education he had, so I told him to go, and if he would just keep the faith and not forsake his religion, that I would do the best I could. My son Arnasa lived one block from me and my daughter Minerva lived two blocks. Ezra wrote good letters home and Edward telegraphed as soon as he arrived in Philadelphia that he was all right; so, things were not so lonesome after all, Edward was young, only 22 years old, but he entered the college without difficulty. During the summer vacation he returned home and staved with me and studied hard, then he returned to Philadelphia to resume his studies.
In the fall of 1891 Ezra returned from his mission. Edward was at that time in Philadelphia; so, Ezra stopped over there and stayed a week with him, during which time he decided to study medicine, also. He arrived home in November, stayed a few weeks and made arrangements with his brother William to take what property he had and furnish him money to go to school, then he returned to Louisville, Kentucky and took a course in medicine that year. When the school was out Edward came back, but Ezra stayed longed as he had not entered until after Edward had that term. Ezra arrived home on June 1st, and was married on June 29th, 1892, to Miss Anne Lowe in the Logan Temple. The boys stayed home that summer, spending their time in study, as. that was their whole ambition, and in the fall of 1892 Ezra and Edward both went back to Philadelphia to resume their studies, Ezra taking his wife with him. This term Edward made his home with Ezra and his wife.
Before my boys started to study I decided to have my boys take my stock and pay me so much for them, thus relieving me of much worry and anxiety, and they paid me as they could. We did all we could to help the boys when they were going to school.
In the spring of 1893 Edward graduated; got his diploma and returned home, but his health was very poor and he had hard work to get through the last part of his term , By this time Ezra’s wife had a daughter born, the 26th of April, 1893. Ezra stayed in Philadelphia during that summer working in the hospitals, etc.. Then in the fall of 1893 he resumed his studies, and in the spring of 1894 he graduated in medicine from Jefferson Medical College, and he and his wife and baby returned home.
In August, 1893, Dr. Pomeroy, my son-in-law wrote for Edward to come and take his practice as he wanted to go East to take a course of lectures and would be gone six months, so, Edward went to Cheney, Washington; stayed there all winter until Dr. Pomeroy returned, then he came back to Paris, and on his 26th birthday, which was the 9th of April, he married Miss Emily Almira Cozzens a lifelong friend of Montpelier, Idaho in the Salt Lake Temple; was married by Apostle F. M. Lyman. He had gone down to Ogden, Utah, just after his arrival in Paris, from Washington, and made arrangements for an office and home as he and Ezra had made arrangements to practice together in Ogden. He immediately came back, got his intended bride, went to Salt Lake City and was married, then returned to Ogden, where they located. On the 15th of May, Ezra arrived home with his wife and baby, stayed a few days in Paris, left his wife and baby here and went to Ogden to see how Edward was located and what prospects were in Ogden for them.
In February 1893 my son William was called to be second counselor to the Stake President, William Budge. Now this necessitated his moving back to Paris again, and in the meantime he had sold his home in Paris and had bought a lot and built a house in Montpelier, and was fixed very comfortable, All together he had lived in Montpelier six years, acting as Bishop while there. In June 1893 he moved back to Paris, having to rent a place to live in. On the 19th of May of the next year his second wife died, leaving a baby eight days old and another four years old; her maiden name was Almira Holmes. In the spring of 1895 his first wife and baby died; the baby only living twenty-four hours. She died of heart trouble and dropsy. They were both buried in the same coffin. This left William alone with eight children.
In the meantime, he bought a place just across the street from my home, which is his present home. Since that time he has improved it and made it comfortable.
In 1896 he married Miss Emily Matthews, she being his third wife. In 1899 he was called on a mission to the Eastern States, and before he returned his oldest son, William L. Jr., also was called on a mission to the Southern States, and is now studying medicine in St. Louis.
In the meantime, my son, Amasa M’s. boy Marion, thirteen years old died of heart trouble.
I have had four grandsons go on missions, William L. Rich, Jr., Ernest Woolley, Daniel Rich and Jesse P. Rich, ( 1905).
I have two sons William and Amasa and one daughter. Minerva, who have good homes in Paris, Idaho, and are comfortable, and I also have a comfortable home in Paris, although I spend my winters with the Doctors, Ezra and Edward, and their families in Ogden, as they feel that it is better for me to be down with them during the cold weather. I go home in April and generally stay until November. My health is pretty good and I am comfortable and happy in my old age, now being 75 years old. (1905.)
My daughter, Mrs. Woolley, has one son in Chicago studying medicine. His name is H. Smith Woolley. He is the oldest of my grandchildren and was born on the Hawaiian Islands, I now have six children living, four boys and two girls, also two boys and two girls who died as children, also thirty six grand children living and seven dead. I also have six great grand. children living.
SUMMARY IN RETROSPECT
It is now ( December 1951, ) one hundred and twenty-two years since Mother’s birth and thirty-nine years since she passed to her reward.
She now has 349 blood descendants as follows : Ten children of her own. Six of whom grew to maturity. Their names and number of their descendants are as follows : Mary Ann ( Mrs. :F A. Pomery ) 7; William L., 172; Minerva ( Mrs. H. S. Wooley) 35; Amasa M., 56; Ezra C., 19 and Edward I., 50. All healthy, robust posterity. All belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints except four and they have lived away from Utah and the Church always.
Various church, civic and national positions are held or have been held, as follows : One president of Stake, and later Patriarch; four Bishops; twenty-five missionaries — representing sixty-three years of missionary work without financial compensation and at their own expense; 16 are Doctors ( I3 M.D,’s., 2 D.D.S.’s. and 1 Ph.D. ) ; 3 graduate nurses; 9 stenographers; 4 lawyers 1 dairy specialist for State of Utah; 1 soil conservation specialist for State of Utah; 1 West Point graduate — now in U. S. Navy; 16 school teachers; S librarians; several musicians (vocal and instrumental); 20 are serving or have seen military service — one is a Colonel; one son served as state senator; one as assessor. and collector in a county; one as sheriff, one as city judge etc. All are honorable citizens in the communities in which they live.
Mother was deprived of her dear and courageous mother by death when only twelve years of age, but the mothers courage and devotion and determination was transmitted to the daughter and remained with her to the end of her days. Throughout her long life, attended by many hardships and privations, she never faltered in her faith or weakened in her testimony of the Divinity of the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his successors. She lived and died a true Latter-Day Saint. May the love and affection that has ever prevailed here continue on throughout eternity.
Edward I. Rich, M. D.
P.S. Great credit is due Zula Rich Cole for her help in this compilation.