Autobiography of Edson Whipple, Part 2

Autobiography of Edson Whipple, Part 2

Notation at top of transcript: "From Aunt Walrade's Diary (Edson's that she had [excerpt])"

I was called at the April Conference in April, 1844 to go on a mission, with David Yeardsley to the State of Pennsylvania to canvass the state and present to the people Joseph Smith's views on government and him for a candidate for the next President of the U.S.

I left Nauvoo on the 4th of May. The November following I returned. While I was away, the Prophet Joseph was murdered. At the first meeting after my return, I saw the mantle of Joseph Smith rest upon Brigham Young while he spoke to the people.

I assisted in building up the city and Temple and defending our homes. I was present at the laying of the capstone of the Temple and received my endowments in it when [it] was completed.

During the winter of 1845, I worked under Capt. Charles Rich at making wagons, being organized in his ten.

In the spring of 1846, May 15th, I crossed the Mississippi River on my way to the Rocky Mountains. (The Valley of the Great Salt Lake) With my family of four, myself, my wife, my mother and our one child. We stopped at Garden Grove two weeks and then rolled out for Council Bluffs. We overtook Bishop Hale's company and traveled with them. We arrived at the Bluffs about the middle of July. While we were traveling we met Brigham Young returning from the Bluffs to Pisgah. He informed us that the Government had made a demand for five hundred men to enlist as volunteers to go to Mexico and said we would respond.

Myself and family together with several families looked out a place some 25 or 30 miles below the Bluffs, down the river on Pony Creek. We prepared for the winter, but we found after remaining there until the first of November, that it was so sickly that we had to move.

While we stopped there my family and myself were all sick. On the 9th of September, my mother died and three days later my wife died also. At the same time, my child and I were both sick. The whole camp (some fourteen families) with the exception of two persons, were all sick and dying off. While we were there we buried some whole families.

After our removal to another place some 4 miles, on the 8th of December, my little girl died. She was 22 months old. We took her to where her mother and grandmother were buried. And there they lie buried side-by-side in coffins made of split planks from the Basswood trees.

Being driven from our comfortable homes in Nauvoo and the comforts of life by a ruthless mob, they died Martyrs to the cause of Christ and in the resurrection will receive a Martyr's reward.

In the spring of 1847, I was called in company with 142 more and organized as a pioneer company to lead the way into the wilderness.

I left Winter Quarters on the 9th day of April. I traveled in the first ten of the second division under Capt. Appleton Harmond. Pres. Heber C. Kimball traveled in the same company. I was one of the guards chosen to guard the camp, taking my turn every third night.

I left Winter Quarters on April 9th, and arrived in Salt Lake Valley, July 22, 1847. The company which numbered about 143 was divided when within about 60 miles of Salt Lake, was divided owing to sickness in camp. Willard Richards started with about 1/3 of the company, and the second day after G.A. Smith started with about one half of the company that had been left. I went with his company. We overtook the first company some seven miles before they reached the Salt Lake Valley. The next day we camped in the Valley, on what was called East Canyon Creek.

The next day we moved and camped on City Creek. The second day after that, Pres. Young arrived with the rest of the Company, it being July 24th, 1847.

We had with us ploughs and harrows and we soon commenced to use them. But we found that the land must be irrigated before we could plow. We appointed a man one of our number by the name of Wolsey to be our watermaster. We watered from fifty to seventy-five acres and planted a variety of seeds which came up and grew rapidly, but because it was so late in the season only a little bit matured.

In a few days after our arrival, a company of the Mormon Battalion that had wintered at Santa Fe, New Mexico, arrived also. The largest half of the pioneer company returned the same season to Winter Quarters where they had been before.

After arriving at Salt Lake, when the pioneers returned to Winter Quarters, I remained and took charge of the property left by the pioneers, and all of Brother Kimball's family effects that came up in the company that followed the pioneers.

Having buried all my family on the plains, I farmed for him the first year. I raised some four hundred bushels of grain for him.

I was a member of the first High Council organized in Salt Lake.

The second year after the immigration arrived, on the 13th of October, I started in company with eleven more to go back to the states on business for myself and for the discharged soldiers.

While I was in the States, Elder Woodruff was sent back to the States with an epistle from the Twelve Apostles to gather out the Saints from the East.

I was called by a written epistle, from him to assist him in visiting the Saints and to help in gathering.

I had been laboring in Maryland and had baptized and organized a Branch of sixteen members. I visited Brother Woodruff in Boston. I was requested to cross the plains in the early part of June, 1850.

I met him at Bethlehem at the crossing of the Missouri River where his company was organized with captains of tens and fifties and hundreds. He appointed me Captain of Fifty. Each fifty traveled separate, but sometimes we camped together on Sunday.

Capt. Leonard Hardy had charge of the first fifty in which Brother Woodruff started. I had a blacksmith in my company, and when we arrived at Ash Hollow, he having ten wagons loaded with merchandise and machinery which required being repaired, he moved them and his family into my Fifty and traveled with me the rest of the way.

We arrived in Salt Lake City October 13th, 1850. I had been absent just two years.

Soon after I arrived I married. I had been single since I buried my wife in Pottawattamie in 1846.

I was then called with G.A. Smith to go settle Iron County.

I left S.L.C. on the 4th of December. There were 101 wagons in all; we arrived at the place where Parowan is now located on January 14th, 1851.

In organizing Iron County, G.A. Smith was appointed Judge of the County Court, and it required associates at that time to make a full bench. I was his first associate.

In our military organization I was elected Captain over the company called "the Home Guard."

G.A. [Smith] requested that we submit plans for laying off our fort and the plan of locating our houses. Several of the company presented plans, and I presented my plan which was accepted and adopted, and Parowan was built according to it.

George Brimhall and myself built a thresher and water-power-getting grant from the city council to use water of the creek. We threshed the first crop raised.

I was a member of the city council.

In May, 1851, Pres. Young and company made us a visit and while there, Pres. Heber C. Kimball counseled me after the mission was established to return to Provo.

Part 1