Thursday, March 31, 2011

Edwin Pettit Autobiography, Part 8

On one of my trips, when camping at noon, four or five Indians came to me asking for something to eat. After standing around for a few moments, they asked me if I was a Mormon. There were three or four other men with me at the time, and I said to the Indian “No, those fellows Mormons,” just in a joke. After a short time he said: “Are you Mormon?” I said, “No, those fellows Mormons.” He said, “You lie.” At this time the Indians were very troublesome on account of having trouble at Mountain Meadow. The other men were very much afraid of having trouble with them at this time, but I fixed them a meal of my famous paste, made of one pint of flour and four gallons of water brought to a boil, which they all enjoyed very much. They then felt much more peaceable.

Late one afternoon, when looking for a place to camp where there was plenty of grass, some Indians came to me and said there was plenty of grass just around the nearby hill. They said they would take my mules around where there was good grass if I would give them a shirt. While I was considering this proposition and getting something to eat, they said they would herd my mules and bring them in in the morning. After they had finished their meal, they were more talkative, and asked me for a shirt and some pants. I finally told them what I wanted, and ordered them off, and they soon left. I took my best riding mule, put a chain around her neck and fastened it to the wagon, knowing that the Indians would crawl up and cut a rope, but they could not cut a chain. We then took our animals back where the Indians had told us to go for grass and turned them loose. My one mule was secured in this manner in order that I would have something to get away with in case the Indians drove the others away. The mule squealed, pawed and jerked at the wagon so there was no sleeping done that night. We lay on the ground just far enough away so that we would not get stepped on, and at the break of day I went for my mules and found them all right. If I had allowed these Indians to take care of my animals and herd them, they were to leave two or three Indians in camp for me to keep as security for the return of the mules.

After crossing the desert with my two companions from Parowan, we reached the Muddy and found a number of Indians here. We had to feed them as usual. I also had to prepare for crossing the big desert—about fifty-four miles. I had to cook, fill up our water barrels, get my supper and start out again in the late afternoon when it was cool. Therefore, I had to stay here an hour or two. That night when we started on the desert, two Indians followed me. I asked them where they were going. They said “To Vegas.” I told them they could not go with me, for I did not have water or feed for them, and they must go back. But they would not do it. They followed me about eighteen miles, when I stopped to give my mules a bucket of water and a little grain, and make some coffee for myself. I would not feed the Indians nor give them a drink. They left me and started up a canyon. I traveled several miles and never saw anything of them. The next time I stopped to repeat the same thing, I started away from camp and was about forty rods away, and the fire blazed up. Happening to be looking back, I saw the two Indians standing by the fire. They had been watching me all this time within a few rods of where I was getting my supper. Of course it was an accident on their part as they did not want to be seen. It was only for the lack of courage that they did not shoot my two companions and myself. They had followed me nearly thirty-five miles on the desert. After this I made no more stops on the desert, as I knew they were after me, but this was the last I saw of them.

On reaching a spring where I usually camped, I heard a horse whinny, and looking up on the ridge of the mountains, I saw a horse coming. It came right up to my team and I tied it up. This animal had been left by some party that was several days ahead of me, and it showed me that there were no Indians here, or this horse would not have lasted long. I took it into San Bernardino, and on arriving there my two companions went into a little grove to camp. There they met the party that had lost the animal on the desert. They reported to him that I had picked up this animal, so he came after it. I considered that I had as good or even better right to it than they, because they had left it never expecting to see it again, and I came along and saved the animal. To decide the matter we left it to three disinterested men, and they decided that a value be placed on the animal, and we were to either give or take. They decided that the animal was worth thirty dollars, and they gave me fifteen dollars and took the animal. That with the twenty dollars that the two men had paid me for the privilege of traveling with me made thirty-five dollars, which was quite a help on my journey.

To be continued...

You can try your hand at making the famous paste. It makes a great Family Home Evening activity. Here is the recipe in smaller quantity.

Edwin Pettit's Famous Paste

2 tablespoons flour
4 cups water

Whisk flour into water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Feed to starving indigenous peoples.

Photo of the desert near Las Vegas from Photo of the joshua tree at sunrise from Photo of the Joshua tree in the winter from

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Edwin Pettit Autobiography, Part 7

During the following summer, on July 24th, just ten years to the day when the Saints entered the valley, a grand celebration was held in Big Cottonwood Canyon. I took part in this celebration, and it was during that time that word reached President Young that the soldiers were being sent out by the U.S. Government to take control of the people in this valley. The people were advised by President Young to move to the south, which most of them did, some of them going as far as Provo, leaving a few here to take care of their homes.

I moved south with the people, but continued my journey on to California, and thence east to the Colorado desert to dig some wells for the Overland Stage Route. We stayed there until our provisions were exhausted, expecting supplies to reach us, which they failed to do. That is where we took turns in chewing the last bacon rind until we were forced to break camp as we had neither water nor provisions. We walked thirty miles without a drink of water, after which I drank nine pints of warm water, similar to new milk. I don’t know what the others drank as I was too much interested in my own welfare. That is where I proved to my own satisfaction that I could stand as much hardship and fatigue as anybody, and more than most of them. When their tongues would begin to swell and their lips parch, and they became delirious and lay down to die, I was still in pretty good condition. Water had to be taken back for those that had given out but we lost no men. The trip was a failure financially, as we did not succeed in getting water. I again returned to San Bernardino and made an agreement with a party for me to furnish the use of $600.00 and a mule and he was to furnish the rest of the outfit to purchase goods to bring to Utah to sell, and we were to divide the profits, which we did, both being well satisfied.

From that time on for about ten years, I spent my time traveling in Utah, Nevada, and California, making trips into the gold mines in Montana. When the Union Pacific began to creep towards the coast, I went to Laramie, a distance of 600 miles, and took a hand in that enterprise. I drove a four-mule team to that point and worked for some time at $8.00 a day. One winter I started out from Salt Lake to Fort Bridger with freight, but the snow was so deep that it was impossible for me to proceed. I cached my freight at Coalville, and returned home after having both feet frozen; could not wear a shoe for several weeks.

On one of my journeys to California, I drove a team as far south as Parowan entirely alone, a distance of two hundred and fifty miles. My trips were generally made in the winter, and for that reason I endured many hardships from cold and exposure. At Parowan I made an agreement with two men, who had been waiting there for some time to make the trip to California, and they gave me $20.00 for the privilege of going with me, riding their own horses and feeding themselves. They only traveled with me for the sake of company. At one time our animals left us in the night and started back across the desert, and I followed them afoot twelve miles; overtook them and brought them back to camp, where the other two men had stayed. This was a big risk to take, as going out on the desert a person would soon perish for want of water, and had the animals started earlier in the night, I would have stood a good chance of being lost. I became rather reckless at times and took many chances on those various trips—more than most of the men whom I came in contact with.

To be continued...

Photo of Big Cottonwood Canyon from Engraving of Brigham Young from Edward Tullidge's book Brigham Young. Photo of Wyoming from

Monday, March 28, 2011

Edwin Pettit Autobiography, Part 6

We spent the following winter in Salt Lake, and in March of the following spring, another big company of Mormons was fitted out to start for San Bernardino, being sent there by Brigham Young to establish a colony. My brother-in-law, David Seeley, was made captain of the company.

Photo of David Seely from the San Bernardino Public Library.

Again the ox teams plodded their weary way through the wild country. When camping for the night, our wagons were formed into a corral to hold the stock to keep them from the Indians. On one occasion the Indians drove off two of our cows which were never recovered.

While I was on guard at the mouth of the corral one night, the Indians fired a shower of arrows at two men who were sitting by a camp fire. The fire was extinguished immediately, but it caused a great excitement in the camp. There were a number of arrows picked up next morning, but they had gone wide of their mark and no one was hurt.

Two nights after that, while I was out herding the cattle, an Indian passed between me and the herd, shooting arrows at them. I did not stop him, nor even say goodbye, for fear he would take a shot at me. He shot one mule and one ox in broad daylight, but they did not prove to be poisoned arrows, consequently we pulled the arrows out and the animals both got well.

Don Antonio Maria Lugo. Lugo is dressed in the customary costume of gentlemen from León, Spain. Photo from the San Bernardino Public Library.

We finally encamped at Sycamore Grove, at the mouth of the Calhoun pass, June 11th of the same year. Negotiations immediately were opened with the Lugos, which resulted in a sale of the great ranch, covering a great portion of the present San Bernardino valley, for the sum of $75,000. The Mexicans took their herds of horses and wild cattle with them, leaving the bare ground for the new owners.

First, a stockade was erected, for Indians lurked in the mountains and on the plains. Several ranchers from around about joined the settlers, and the earth felt the touch of agriculture for the first time since the creation. Fields were plowed and planted, and in the following spring the townsite was surveyed and laid out in town lots of one acre each.

I put in a crop of grain and went to farming. I paid $125.00 for a one-acre lot in San Bernardino, and in a short time bought the next one to it, and paid $200.00, which made me the possessor of a quarter of a block. My brother-in-law purchased land directly across the street where my sister and family lived. I worked in the mountains logging, at the saw-mill, and finally, after about six years’ time, returned to Salt Lake.

I have seen service with the San Bernardino rangers or “Minute Men.” This was a company formed to intimidate and hold in check the lawless with which the country abounded at that time.

When I decided to return to Salt Lake, I traded my two lots in San Bernardino for a small home in Salt Lake City in the Fourteenth Ward. On returning from San Bernardino, when I reached a spot near Cedar City, I came up with the Seeley family, and traveled with them as far as Pleasant Grove, staying with them for a short time. I then returned to Salt Lake and went to live with Lorenzo Pettit down near the Jordan River.

To be continued...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Edwin Pettit Autobiography, Part 5

[Edwin was 15 and 16 years old during the events narrated in this excerpt.]

I left Pomeroy’s company here and joined this independent company. We bought a yoke of oxen and the front wheels of a wagon and made them into a cart. Packed all our goods on that and in order to save the cattle, I took a bundle of our goods, tied them together, and carried them on my shoulders across the desert. One man belonging to our company died crossing this desert.

We arrived in San Bernardino, recruited our stock, and then made our way down to Los Angeles. I reached here during the rainy season, when the streets were pools of water from the heavy rains; had to sleep right on the ground, and many a time was soaked before morning.

1850 daguerreotype of San Pedro, California. For more information about life in California at this time, read Richard Henry Dana's book Two Years Before the Mast.

We disposed of our cattle for a good price, and went down to San Pedro where there were a few adobe huts standing. Here we found mostly Mexicans who killed cattle for the hide and tallow for shipment. As it was considered a very dangerous harbor, a vessel would only stop there once in a great while. Here we engaged passage in an old sailing craft for San Francisco at $25.00 each. I was very seasick about half the time while on the boat. We caught a shark while on board, and we all helped to eat it.

The Ship Brooklyn sailed from Old Slip, Manhattan, around the southern tip of South America, to Juan Fernandez Island (Robinson Crusoe's island), the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), and from there to Yerba Buena (San Francisco). More than 200 Saints were on the voyage which took almost six months.

We landed in San Francisco after twelve days on the ship. Here we found friends who had sailed all the way from Brooklyn, N. Y. Some of the people here were from my old home in New York. Sam Brannan had fitted up a ship called the “Brooklyn.” He was put in charge of a company of the Saints who traveled around Cape Horn down to San Francisco, and after arriving there he tried to induce President Brigham Young and associates to come on to California, but he would never consent to this.

 San Francisco Harbor, 1851.

One lady whom I met in San Francisco gave me and some other boy a calico shirt, as we were badly in need of them.

"Degrees of fortune in the California Gold diggings."

We worked a few days in San Francisco to get a grub-stake to go to the mines. Went by steamboat up to Sacramento, and there met many friends. Here we engaged a team and took our mining tools out into the mines. On the 6th day of April, the day that the Conference convened in Salt Lake City, we had just reached the gold mines. We spent five months and four days making the trip from Salt Lake to our destination.

Sacramento, 1849.

We were not very successful at the mines and in the fall of 1850 we returned to Salt Lake. There were many who were discouraged, as they could not get any word from Salt Lake more than once a year. We went to Sacramento and bought two mules and fitted out for our return home, traveling by way of the Humboldt River—the northern route—in company with C. C. Rich and others. Crossing the desert we met a man who was selling water by the bucket. He had hauled the water out on the desert waiting for travelers to come along.

During this trip we had considerable trouble with the Indians. In the first part of our travels, we passed two graves of men who had been killed by the Indians. Traveled up the Humboldt River about three days. The wagons always took the lead and I generally rode one mule, and packed the other with our supplies. One day one man fell too far behind the company, letting his horse pick the grass as he came along; the Indians came out from the willows and tried to cut him off from the rest of the company, but he hollered and some of the company turned back to his assistance and the Indians took fright and ran back.

Tents at the Humboldt River, 1859, almost a decade later.

Leaving the Humboldt River I was sent out with another man to herd our band of animals over night so they could get the grass. We stood the first guard up till 12 o’clock, and then I started out for the camp to wake up the next guard. The night was very dark and it was hard to tell just which way to go to find the camp, so my companion told me the way as nearly as he could. I left him in charge of the animals, and had not gone more than half way when my mule took fright and ran away. Whether it was Indians I did not know. I lost my hat and have never found it yet. The mule finally returned back to the herd. This created some excitement; I told my partner what had happened and we finally decided that he should try to find the camp, which he did, and we got the other guards as we were badly in need of rest, I being left entirely alone, surrounded with Indians, awaiting their return.

At one place during our journey we came across the foot prints of a man and the marks in the sand of a wheelbarrow. Finding a place where there had been a camp fire, we soon discovered that the Indians had made away with this party. We followed the tracks of this wheelbarrow into the valley of Salt Lake, arriving in the fall of 1850.

Salt Lake City, 1850.

To be continued...

Part 2 
Part 3
Part 4

All of the pictures are from Wikipedia with the exception of the picture of the gold diggers from Walter Colton, Three Years in California, New York, 1850.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Edwin Pettit Autobiography, Part 4

All the land in the city was surveyed and we drew lots for it. By doing this, we got twenty acres of ground, and put in a crop. During this time, we had to depend upon my brother-in-law, who was a pretty good gunman, as it was very hard for us to get along, and occasionally he would bring in a quail or a wild duck. Many a time we have had to depend on thistle roots or pig weed as our bill of fare. I have taken the brass buttons off my coat and traded to the Indians for segos—anything to get enough to eat.

For two years we spent our time in getting along the best we could, depending on the canyons for our wood. At one time, after our crops were nearly ready for harvesting, the grasshoppers and crickets came by the thousands and almost caused a famine in the land by destroying our grain fields. The seagulls came to our rescue and devoured the crickets and grasshoppers and we were able to save a small portion of our crops.

Early in November, 1849, my brother-in-law and myself, enlisted with Pomeroy [1] to help him take his big ox train through to California. Pomeroy brought an ox train through from the eastern states with merchandise and sold out what he could and traded the remainder for cattle. He took me along to drive his cattle on horseback. There were about forty or fifty head of cattle that I had to take charge of. He had about twenty wagons with two men and two yoke of oxen to each wagon. These men boarded themselves, but were paying their way to California by driving these teams.

During the day I drove the cattle, and had to corral them at nights to keep them from the Indians. I was always the one to turn out the cattle every morning to let them eat while we had breakfast and got ready for our move. Then I had to bring up the cattle and eat my breakfast after everyone else was done. The cattle got tired and footsore—so much so that they began to give out and lie down, and when I could not get them up any longer, I would have to leave there. I would leave two a day; five a day; as they gave out, and the last day I was with the company, I left nineteen head of cattle, as they could not go any further. When we reached the Muddy Desert [2], our teams were so reduced and the cattle so nearly gone that we put the wagons off to one side, using them for kindling wood, and packed everything up into as few wagons as possible.

About two weeks after Pomeroy left Salt Lake, there was an independent company started out for the gold mines of California, and they got out on the desert and got lost. They were without water or food and were about to perish. They could not agree on which way to go, and some started out afoot—alone. They reached the Muddy Desert just at the time we did—ragged, starved, and almost perished. When this company were out on the desert and did not seem to agree, Apostle Chas. C. Rich [3] started out from the camp one morning, and the boys asked where he was going. He said he was just going out for a short distance and would be back soon. They thought probably he was out of his mind. He said: “I am just going over here to pray for rain.” They waited for him to come back, and just as he arrived in camp the clouds were seen to arise from the southwest and the rain poured down and soaked up the ground. They got all they could in buckets and cooled off their cattle and horses. Ponds of water were left on the ground and they were all revived. Some of them later came up with Pomeroy’s company near the Muddy.

To be continued...

Part 2 
Part 3

[1] This appears to be Francis Martin Pomeroy, one of the early pioneers, later a pioneer in the Bear River (Utah-Idaho border) area, and later in life, one of the founders of Mesa, Arizona. Here is an interesting biography.

[2] Southern Clark County, Nevada, in the area of the Muddy (formerly Moapa) River, approximately between St. George and Las Vegas. If you've ever driven on I-15 between these two cities, imagine doing it on foot!

[3] Charles C. Rich was an early leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and one of the founders of San Bernardino, California. Chapter 3 in the book Establishing Zion: The Mormon Church in the American West, 1847-1869 by Eugene Campbell, "The Lure of California Gold," is online and it tells about the gold mission and explains and provides context for some of Edwin Pettit's upcoming adventures.

Photo of the Seagull Monument on Temple Square in Salt Lake City from Photo of the plaque on the Seagull Monument from

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Edwin Pettit Autobiography, Part 3

In the spring of 1847 we moved camp, and passed through Winter Quarters, where the main part of the Saints had been camped all winter. All the companies rallied to a place near a stream called Elk Horn, where they organized into companies of hundreds, fifties and tens, with a captain over each.

Bishop Edward Hunter was appointed captain of fifty: John Lowry was appointed captain of ten families in which all the Seeleys were members, my sister and myself with the rest.[1] I was thirteen years of age at this time. Most of the time we traveled in double columns—that is, two rows of teams in order to keep the company together and away from the Indians.

In camping over night our wagons were placed to form a circle, an opening being left at one end to drive the cattle in to keep them from the Indians, guards being place around the outside.

Fuel was very scarce most of the time and when we wanted a fire everyone would go out to gather buffalo chips, and some of the daintier sex instead of picking them up with their hands, used tongs to gather them with. Before we had gone very far, they got very bravely over this, and would almost fight over a dry one. We could see buffalo as thick as the leaves on the trees for miles around. We had a great deal of trouble from them, having to scare them away with guns in order to make a passage. 

We saw many Indians, but for the most part they were very friendly and peaceable. At one place on the Platte River, some of the boys and myself went down to swim at noon time, and I got beyond my depth and was nearly drowned.

We traveled mostly on foot, the wagons being used to carry the provisions. Sometimes an ox and a horse would be hitched together to make the trip. In the latter part of the journey, when our cattle began to get tired and footsore, sometimes lying down, it was a difficult matter to get them on their feet again. We had a calf that gave out, and we had to leave him one afternoon. The next morning, while the folks were getting breakfast, I was put on a horse and sent back several miles to bring the calf. One place where there was a double road, with a swamp in the middle I saw four Indians coming. I left one road and passed over into the other to avoid the Indians. When they saw me, they passed over into that road also to meet me. I was riding a good horse, and had a good half mile the start of them, but I did not think to turn and run back. I went right ahead and met them. They came up, talked to me a few minutes, and they let me pass right along. It is almost a miracle that they did not take my horse, as it was a very good one and I often think of it as being a very foolish act on my part. I was never afraid of the Indians, and I presume this is the reason I was not more cautious. However, I found the calf and returned to the company.

We traveled from day to day feeling as happy and cheerful as possible under the conditions, covering from ten to fifteen miles a day.

Our last camp before entering the valley of Salt Lake would be a short distance above the mouth of Emigration Canyon.

After a journey of about four or five months, we reached Salt Lake on the 19th day of September, 1847. We joined some of the emigrants on what is now known as Pioneer Square. It was then surrounded by a high mud wall as a protection against the Indians, with port holes on all sides and a large gate on each side. I lived near the northwest corner of the square, where my brother-in-law and sister and myself had two houses of one room each, for which my brother-in-law traded provisions. Many a time we have stood with an umbrella over the table to keep the water from coming through on our food, and tin pans set over the bed to catch the water that dripped through the mud roof. We stayed here for two winters.

We started to farming—plowed and put in grain, but it did not amount to much. We used to go through the wheat fields where all the grain had been taken off, and glean the fields, fan out the wheat and grind it through a coffee mill to make pancakes. If we got enough for one hot cake, we considered ourselves very fortunate.

To be continued...

Part 2 

[1] Edwin traveled in the Edward Hunter-Jacob Foutz Company. Here is a list of the members of the company, and all known accounts about the company, including Edwin's, which is one of the more detailed accounts.

C.C.A. Christensen picture of Winter Quarters from Wikipedia. Mormon Trail map from Wikipedia. Picture of the buffalo chip, with much thanks, from Tim Hettler at Picture of the buffalo herd from And finally about the photo of the mountains in autumn: yes, I realize that it's the mountains above Provo, but the picture was taken on September 20th, which was just a day later in the season than when the wagon train arrived in Salt Lake City. From

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Edwin Pettit Autobiography, Part 2

In February 1846, the people began leaving Nauvoo for the west, and my sister and her husband decided to go with them. At this time they were both good members of the Mormon faith. I was given to understand that if I wished to go West, there would be a way provided for me. I wanted to go with my sister but the rest of the children opposed my going, as did also my guardian.[1]

A man was sent from the Mormon camp to pilot me to the camp of my sister, which was some miles away. This young man took me to the camp; my guardian and brothers followed me, took me back on horseback—I riding behind my brother. I didn’t get to see my sister as they overtook me before I reached her. In a short time there was another man made his appearance in the neighborhood on the same errand, a man that I was acquainted with. We made an appointment to meet at a certain place and make our escape if possible. I got up very early in the morning, and went down stairs with my shoes in my hands. My guardian was dozing in his chair as I slipped out unknown to him, and put my shoes outside. I soon fell in with my friend, and we tramped all day without anything to eat to reach the spot where I was to join my sister. Instead of going into camp, I lay out in the prairie all night alone. The captain of this company called the people together and told them if there was anybody inquiring for me to tell them there was no such boy in camp—I was not in the camp at this time; I was staying out in the prairie. The parties were hunting for me again, but failed to find me.

Disguised as a girl, and in company with four or five girls, I crossed the Des Moines River on a flat boat; the boat man being none the wiser, supposing I was a girl with the rest. I was wearing side-combs in my hair, and false curls covered my head. I was also wearing a sunbonnet in order to make the disguise more complete. 

On landing on the opposite side of the river, an old friend met me on horseback, and took me on behind him. As is well known, girls are supposed to ride sideways, especially where there are a great many people to observe them, and I also took that precaution. In going along the road, the people would sometimes holler out: “Old man, that girl will fall—she’s asleep,” because I was trying to hide my face. He turned around and said: “Mary Ann, wake up. You’ll fall off and break your neck.” The people thought his little girl was asleep. People at that time were trying to get away from Nauvoo and all the surrounding country, and we passed a good many on the way. I at last reached my sister’s camp, near a place called Indian Creek.

In a short time the people broke camp and started on their long journey to the West. We crossed the State of Iowa, and reached Pigeon Grove, a distance of about three hundred and fifty miles. This was named after the wild pigeons which were very numerous. There were so many Seeleys gathered here that it was later on called Seeley’s Grove; located about twelve miles from Council Bluffs, where we spent the winter.[2] 

There were about twenty-five families in our company. We were located in a beautiful grove of trees and we fell to work cutting trees to build our homes. We cut the logs from fourteen to eighteen feet long and helped each other roll them up together to build the houses. There were my two uncles and their families; my cousin, Lorenzo Pettit, with his wife; my sister and her husband with four Seeley [they spelled it Seely] families, and others; my sister having married David Seeley. We built houses and put flat log roofs on; covered them with dirt. Wagon boxes standing outside of the door made room sufficient for a family, people mostly sleeping in their wagon boxes, although it was very cold. 

It was a hard winter and many cattle died for want of fodder. We used to take turns in going out with a herd of cattle where there was plenty of feed on a stream called the Buoyal [perhaps Henchal Creek], and some members of the camp had to stay with them all winter to milk the cows, make the butter, and herd the stock. The snow was very deep, but this was the only way we had of taking care of our stock. We used to cut down young trees and let the cattle browse on the leaves and bark in order to keep them alive. My uncle lost so many of his oxen that he could not move the following spring with the rest of the company. In the spring we planted radishes, lettuce, and onions, in a small place right in front of the door. 

With my brother-in-law, I went down into Missouri with two yoke of oxen and a wagon to get breadstuff and other things to do us on our way after leaving Seeley’s Grove. We traded off some little things we had for anything that we could use on the road—things that we felt we could possibly get along without on our journey, in order to get enough food to do us on our way. I was the one that always drove the team. When we got back to our log cabin again, the little garden seeds that we had sown were all up and it was a great help to us. They were the only things we had in the way of garden stuffs, and they looked pretty good to us.

To be continued...

I have added additional paragraph breaks to the story to make it easier to read. The picture of the Mississippi River viewed from Nauvoo is from The historical photo of the Des Moines River is from the Des Moines Public Library by way of

[1] Some of their descendants still live in the Midwest. Several years ago some of the Utah branch of the family was able to meet and tour the farm of one of the descendants of one of Edwin Pettit's brothers.

[2] I have not been able to find Indian Creek, Pigeon Grove or Seeley's Grove on any current map. The location names went went west with the settlers and can be found in biographies and stories of the Mormon migration. Here is a list of Mormon settlement names in Iowa: Settlement Listing. The linked map (Winter Quarters/Kanesville) shows Indian Creek but not the other two.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Edwin Pettit Autobiography, Part 1

[July 28, 2011. Here is a post with some notes about Edwin Pettit and his family.]

Edwin Pettit was born in Hempstead, New York (Long Island) in 1834. His family joined the church around 1840 and joined the westward migration of the Saints. His autobiography includes some remarkable experiences and stories. Some of them have been told often in his family and in the church. Here is the first installment.

Having been asked many times by my children and friends to relate some of my early experiences in the Pioneer days of the West, and particularly Utah, I have at last decided to do so, and will be as brief as possible, relating only those experiences which are stamped most indelibly on my mind.

Biography of Edwin Pettit

I am the son of Jesse and Mary Pettit. I was born in Queens County, New York, February 16, 1834. My father was a school teacher for a number of years; also a student of law. During the summer months he worked on his farm, which was very valuable, as it lay near the City of New York. He joined the Mormon Church about 1840. In the fall of 1841 my parents decided to gather with those of their faith at Nauvoo. Just prior to the time they moved West, an agent was sent out by the Mormon Church to trade land owned by them on the west side of the Mississippi River called Zarahemla, for the homes of those wishing to gather with the Saints. Father made a deal with this agent for some land, but while the agent was out, another man had gotten possession of the land, consequently, they never realized anything in exchange for their homes. We made preparations for leaving our home in New York; all our household goods—except what we desired to take with us—were sold at auction, or as it was then known, at “vendue.” We traveled sixteen miles by stage to the City of New York, and from there made our way by boat and otherwise across the country to the Mississippi River; traveled up the Mississippi River on steamboat; landed at Nashville, four miles below Nauvoo, in plain sight of the Nauvoo Temple. In company with my parents were two of my uncles and their families. The first house we occupied was owned by David Bennett. It consisted of two rooms, and we occupied one-half of it. Later on father bought a frame house of two rooms; one room on the ground floor, and one upstairs. The whole family, consisting of five boys and one girl, ranging from two years up to twenty years of age, occupied this house for the winter, which proved to be a very severe one.

In the spring of 1842, father and mother were both taken ill. The climate was very poor and unhealthy; this, together with the hardships we had undergone, and the worry and troubles they had had during the previous winter seemed to be too much for them, and they died within two weeks of each other, father on April 29, 1842, at the age of 49 years; mother on May 13, 1842 at the age of 44 years. They had never been able to get any land for the home which we had left, and this left the family almost destitute.

After the death of my parents, the court appointed a guardian to take charge of the children and all the effects. A value was placed upon all the household goods, and my oldest sister was charged up with everything and held accountable for all that was used. Consequently, everything was used up in a short time. My sister Mary kept house for the family, and we struggled along the best we could. Some of my brothers and I rented a piece of land and worked it to help get along. In 1844 my sister went on a visit to Long Island, and left me in charge of everything. I worked on the farm and did the cooking for the family while she was gone. She returned home and took charge of the family until she was married in 1845. When she was married my brothers and myself all moved into a better house, where we lived with her for a short time. Later on we boarded with our guardian, and we paid well for all we received, my brothers working at anything they could get to do.

To be continued...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The 169th Anniversary of the Relief Society

Today is the anniversary of the original founding of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In 1842, women associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois, saw a need for a charitable organization, and wrote a constitution and by-laws. They presented the documents to Joseph Smith for review, and he suggested that their organization looked good, but that the Lord had something more important for women and that he would organize them as an auxiliary of the church.

The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo met first on March 17, 1842. Emma Smith was president of the organization with Sarah Cleveland and Elizabeth Ann Whitney as counselors, and Eliza R. Snow as secretary. The women worked together for "the relief of the poor, the destitute, the widow and the orphan, and...the exercise of all benevolent purposes."

The Relief Society quickly became a large and useful organization which visited homes and solicited help for the poor. The organization last met in March 1844 and did not hold meetings as the church moved west.

Ten years later, women in Salt Lake City saw the need to provide clothing for Native Americans, and resumed meeting for several years. In 1866, Brigham Young appointed Eliza R. Snow to reorganize the Relief Society throughout the church. She consulted her original minute book and traveled from ward to ward and taught three guiding principles: taking care of the poor, taking care of the Church, and becoming economically self-sufficient.

The Relief Society took on a variety of projects including blessing the sick, teaching, storing wheat in case of a time of need, running cooperative stores, sending women to medical school in the East, and training midwives and nurses. You can read on this blog about one of the Relief-Society-trained midwives, Margaret Jarvis.

Many of the other women on this blog have made their membership in Relief Society an integral part of their lives, and the story of their lives is really the story of the Relief Society, including the story of Elizabeth Hayward's involvement in the suffrage movement. Working for women's suffrage and women's rights was one of the major projects of the Relief Society for many years under the direction of President Emmeline Wells and the Relief Society newspaper, the Woman's Exponent. "The Rights of the Women of Zion, and the Rights of the Women of all Nations," was the text on its masthead. The Relief Society published the Woman's Exponent from 1872 to 1913.

The Relief Society made some changes in 1913 and 1914. It adopted the motto, "Charity Never Faileth," and started publishing the Relief Society Magazine instead of the Woman's Exponent

The Relief Society continued in its local and national and worldwide relief efforts. They are too numerous to list here, but some efforts included being the first organization to provide relief to the victims of the great San Francisco Earthquake, providing 200,000 bushels of wheat to the United States government in a time of crisis during World War I, assisting in Red Cross efforts during both World Wars, and providing relief to Japan and the nations of Europe after World War II.

Most of the Relief Society efforts remained local, though. Women cared for each other and for families in the community and visited and taught each other. It was a major part of life for many women, and is so today, as it continues as one of the oldest and largest women's organizations in the world:

The image of Emma Smith is from Wikipedia. The image of Margaret Jarvis is from family collections. This post is very loosely based on an article I wrote for Paul Reeve and Ardis Parshall’s Mormonism: a Historical Encyclopedia (2010). The best comprehensive history of the Relief Society is Derr, Cannon, and Beecher's Women of Covenant: The Story of the Relief Society (1992).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Family Search Wiki

Happy Pi Day!

Family Search, the major genealogy website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and just one of its extensive family history resources, recently started a project called Research Wiki. Like the more familiar wiki, Wikipedia, it is a collection of articles written and edited by volunteers with some familiarity with the topic. If you go to the site...

...and type in a search term; for example:

"Long Island birth records"

(thinking of the Pettits) it comes up with a list of links to sources for these records:

If you search for "Swedish parish records," you will see the following:

which has lots of information and definitions and links.

The articles are not yet complete, but they can be a good starting place, and the articles and resources and links are growing day by day. As of this morning, the Wiki start page has received 236,795,150 visits.

If you have particular expertise in a certain place or type of research or record, sign in and make a note of the information in the wiki. It is a great collaborative effort and will grow and improve as users contribute to it and are willing to edit and have their works edited.

James at Genealogy's Star has been writing a series of articles on the Research Wiki:

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Winder Family

Here are a few more pictures of some Green relatives from the family album.

 Ned and Gwen Winder wedding, 1948.

Ned and Gwen Winder wedding, 1948.

Marjorie Glade (Dalgleish) at the Winder wedding.

This photo is labeled as "Jay and Eva Layton at Winder Wedding."

Ted Winder, 1949.

Christmas Greeting, 1951. (?)

Manti Temple Trip, 1958 or 1959. From left: John Wessman, Ned Winder, Gwen Winder.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lucy Lucile Green Glade, Part 12

On February 14, 1980, we [Beverly and John] invited Lucile for dinner as it was Valentine’s Day. We had a nice time eating and visiting. Richard and his family came with valentines. Mother was tired so Richard took her home. He walked her into the house and kissed her goodnight. [Beverly's hand-written note on the history adds “(Two kisses!)”]

The following morning John and I went for a walk and got back after 8:00. The phone rang and John answered. It was Hyrum telling us to come immediately as mother was dying. The paramedics were there working to revive her. She was on the kitchen floor and I was immediately impressed that she was gone. Bob and Loa Don arrived. The paramedics said that she should be taken to the hospital. We called Dr. Hamer Reiser, her doctor and a friend of John’s and mine. He met us at the LDS hospital. He pronounced her dead. The death certificate said “cardiac arrest.”

She never doubted or lost her faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. She always said she was destined to raise her family in the Kingdom, and knew she was blessed to survive typhoid. She acknowledged after Lester got lymphatic leukemia that the Lord blessed him to remain eight years to be with her. She never complained in those years but was grateful to be able to take care of him at home.

They had a good life together 28 years. She lived 28 years as a widow and died in the home that she and Lester planned together and moved into ten months after their marriage.

Lucile and her sister Leone.

 Lester and Lucile, 1922.

The Glade Family: Bob, Beverly, Lucile, Lester, Marjorie. About 1944.

Lucile. She loved wearing multi-colored jewelry.

Lucile in her later years.

This history was written by Lucile Green Glade and Beverly Glade Wessman and edited by Amy Tanner Thiriot, July 1998.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lucy Lucile Green Glade, Part 11

John and Beverly's Wedding, 1944. Bob, Marjorie, Beverly, Lester, Lucile.

Lucile had a group of friends from University Mothers Club who bowled together and once a month Saturday afternoon cards. Lucile was a very good bowler and received many awards. She was a hospital volunteer “Pink Lady” once a week. During World War II she went to work for the Selective Service as an office worker. It was about this time in 1943 that her husband Lester was diagnosed with lymphatic leukemia.

Marjorie, Ann, and Lucile, August 1946. 
Thanks to Judy and Ann, the dog is fondly remembered as Ginger.

She was a tour guide at the Lion House in Salt Lake City. Dad and Mother went to the Highland Stake Dance for years. They were formal dances at the Edgehill Ward Gym with a live band. They traveled together on some of Lester’s business trips to the East and West Coast....

Roger, Lucile, and Ann, Summer 1948.

Lucile became Relief Society President after Lester died. She served under Bishop Preston Parkinson. She was a good leader, good organizer, considerate, kind and a tireless worker. She served about three years. She also taught Sunday School for several years. She enjoyed church work and was faithful to her callings.

Lucile Glade, Gwen Winder, Ned Winder, 1957.

Our home was clean and neat. Mother and Dad loved beautiful things in their home. It was nicely furnished. They upgraded the kitchen with additional cupboards, new stove and sink and refrigerator. Her working area was small but always clean and neat. She enjoyed entertaining and was very proficient. Her food was delicious and looked appetizing. She served 5 to 35 with calmness and smiles.

Lucile and Ann, 1945.

Mother always kept herself looking clean and neat. She wore makeup and had her hair fixed. She made many of her own clothes. She was an excellent seamstress and made lovely clothes. She used to sew for Marjorie and Beverly. She was still telling us what to wear as teenagers. We had other ideas but somehow always wore her choice until we made our own money and then did our own shopping. Lucile enjoyed hand work of all kinds. She was a very good quilter, knitted, crocheted, embroidery, anything with her hands. She was always exacting, artistic and diligent. She loved to make Christmas special with a gift to each one in the family. She was very thoughtful of birthday gifts to each. As she got older she would visit and do up some dishes or help in some way. She always had dinner at Marge’s or Bev’s on Sunday.

Lucile with her family, 1960.
Front row: Vicki Dalgleish, Rebecca Glade, David Wessman, Craig Wessman.
Middle row: Tami Dalgleish, Marjorie Glade Dalgleish, Scott Dalgleish,
Lucile Glade, Charlotte Glade, Bob Glade, Robin Glade, Loa Don Glade.
Back Row: Beverly Glade Wessman, Ann Wessman, John Wessman, Roger Wessman,
Richard Wessman. Hyrum Dalgleish was the photographer.

Lucile and grandchildren, November 1966.
Front Row: Danny Glade, Mark Wessman, Lucile Glade, Paul Dalgleish, Marie
Middle row of children: Robin Glade, Vicki Dalgleish, Rebecca Glade,
Charlotte Glade, Danny Glade or Scott Dalgleish, Tami Dalgleish.
Back row: Richard Wessman, Ann Wessman, James Tanner.

When Bev and John had prospects of five missionaries she thought teaching people to gold leaf would be a good income to send the boys on missions. She got support from Marge and Hye and Bob and LoaDon and Lucile. We each put in $100 and Lucile $200. Glade Specialties was born. Mother was anxious to help and she did help. She saw all nine of her grandsons go on missions. She went on buying trips to California with us. She worked at the shop, painted, gold leafed, cleaned. She was always helping even to buying a Dees hamburger for us for lunch very often.

Lester and Lucile in Hawaii.

Lucile and Lester had some nice vacations together. Their last one was to Hawaii. Dad wasn’t well but it was worthwhile to visit the romantic, beautiful isles together. This was in October 1951. Robert was on a mission to the Central States. Dad passed away the next June.

Lucile and Lester were very compatible. They treated each other with respect and love and were thoughtful of each other. Lester broke away from ZCMI wholesale hardware manager and became a sales representative. He did very well. The war changed things as manufacturing of metal hardware was slowed down but his account with Boyle Manufacturing and U.S. Steel made good money because they had government contracts and stayed active in manufacturing. Dad sold all he could get. Mother always tried to get Dad to take an office downtown but he liked working out of the home.

The ship's passenger list for Lucile's 1953 trip to Europe.

A Queen Elizabeth II coronation postcard from Lucile's trip to England in 1953.

Pisa, April 23, 1953. Women identified as Mrs. Rasmusson, Mrs. Ralphs, Mrs. Thurman, Mrs. Skeen, Mrs. Glade, Mrs. Sandberg. (Did they call each other "Mrs."?)

Lucile made the best of her time no matter what the circumstances. After Dad’s death she went to Europe on a tour with Clawson Travel. It was about this time that travel tours got going well. From then on she went on smaller trips. She even worked for Chi Tours and took a tour group to Hawaii for Chi. Her friendly spirit and efficiency in organizing and taking responsibility so well made her well-suited for this type of work.

Lucile's tour to Hawaii with Chi Tours.

Lucile always was faithful to the Savior’s teachings. She attended her meetings and supported the authorities. She paid a full tithe all her life. She was very kind and thoughtful of others. We truly loved her and admire her for her strength, physically, morally and mentally. She lived a good life and was good to everyone, especially her family.

To be continued...