From the book Pioneer
Pathways DUP vol.1 p. 376
The Porters, together with
the Morris Phelps and Baldwin Clark families, bought some very rich
farmland near what is now Peoria. Sanford saw the need for a sawmill
inasmuch as the population was growing and people were building
homes. With the help of Morris Phelps, he built a mill. Before it
was in operation, Sanford bought his partner out, and he and his
boys ran it. They found it took all of their time, so they sold the
farm and moved into the mill.
One morning two men came to the Porter home. They handed Sanford a
letter from Morris Phelps, who had moved near Chicago. The letter
introduced the two gentlemen as missionaries from a church Sanford
had never heard of. Sanford had always been spiritual and had
studied the Bible diligently but had never belonged to a church.
Morris said the missionaries had been preaching in the vicinity and
that ministers from all the area churches were in an uproar over
their message. He wanted Sanford, because he knew the Bible so well,
to hear them out and then write him about Sanford’s thoughts on
their message. Sanford and Nancy listened and prayed about it and
were baptized August 10, 1831, as well as their children, Chauncey,
Malinda, and Sarah. Sanford was set apart as a missionary and
labored with Nathan Sumner in the nearby towns. About sixty miles
away he found his old partners, Morris Phelps, Baldwin Clark, and
John Cooper who listened to the missionaries and joined the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints. Shortly thereafter, two
missionaries came to Tazewell County on their way to Kirtland, Ohio.
They informed the new members that the authorities of the Church
wished all to gather in Jackson County, Missouri. Nancy and Sanford
put the mill up for sale. Sanford instructed all the families that
he had been called to preside over, to prepare to go to the “New
Zion” in Missouri.