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CHAPTER L.

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AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 379



CHAPTER L.

Elijah Box says his parents embraced the Gospel in England. Came to Nauvoo. Elijah born in a turbulent time. Moves to St. Louis. To the Bluffs. To the Valley. Storm described. Moves to Brigham City. Struggle for an education. How it is obtained. Called on mission. A great contrast in Liverpool. Visits relatives. In London meets with the Palestine tourists. How poor Saints manage their Sunday clothing. An incident. Closes mission. In charge of a company of Saints, leaves England. Reflections. Reaches home. Engaged in teaching. Presides over Improvement Associations. Counselor to Stake President.

Y parents embraced the Gospel in England in 1841, emigrated in 1842, and arrived in Nauvoo in the spring of 1843. My father worked upon the Temple almost from first to last, experiencing very hard times in con- sequence of the scarcity of the necessaries of life. He was also familiar with all those trying scenes that were enacted during the years immediately preceding and following the martyrdom of the Prophet and Patriarch ; and that will live forever in the memories of the persecuted Saints. It was during these times that I was born, January 4th, 1844.

When the Church left Nauvoo, father moved his family to St. Louis, and from there to Council Bluffs, in 1848. The next four years were occupied in procuring an outfit for " the valley," and in 1852 we emigrated to Salt Lake, where we lived three years. While in Salt Lake, I spent the summer months prin- cipally in herding stock upon the mountains. While out upon one of those occasions, the sky became suddenly overcast with heavy clouds, and, almost instantly, hail and rain began to descend in torrents ; several herd-boys were drowned I very narrowly escaped by finding shelter with my sister, living at the mouth of Red Butte.


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In 1855 we moved to Brigham City, and my father engaged in agriculture. I labored on the farm during the summer, and spent the winter months in endeavoring to obtain a meagre education, attending day and evening schools as opportunities presented, which was not frequent; up to my twelfth year I had attended school but part of one term. I had a kind mother, however, who saw the great necessity of my having an education, and assisted me much during my boyhood, for which I have always been thankful.

At the age of seventeen, I injured myself by lifting heavy timbers, from the effect of which I suffered several years, until I received my endowments, when I soon recovered my health. At nineteen, I was employed in the mercantile establishment of M. D. Rosenbaum, and afterwards by W. C. Thomas in similar business, for whom I worked until the fall of 1865, when President Lorenzo Snow, Samuel Smith, Bishop Nichols and W. C. Thomas formed a copartnership or co-operation; I was employed by this firm four years.

On Sunday, the sixth of May, 1866, I married Roxcy A., daughter of President Lorenzo SnoAV, President Snow officiat- ing. We were sealed by President Wells the following November. (See Family Record.)

The winter of 1870-1 I spent in school, under Professor L. F. Monch, where, I may almost say, I obtained my first start in educational matters. By this time I was twenty-seven years old, had a wife and two children to care for, but I saw the great lack of education in myself and others in this locality, therefore, I determined to exert myself to the utmost, and forego many pleasures that might otherwise be enjoyed. I studied diligently, was greatly assisted by my wife had an excellent teacher, and made fair progress.

At the April Conference in 1871 1 was called on a mission to England. I made immediate preparations to start, though in so doing I had to borrow money to go with. I was set apart for my mission on the first of May, by Apostle Albert


AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 381

Carrington, and on the third of May, in company

with Presi- 

dent Carrington and some twelve or fifteen other missionaries, left Salt Lake City for England. The trip to New York was pleasant, and without incident other than of an ordinary character. We embarked in the steamship Colorado, Guion line. "Off the banks" we experienced some very heavy weather. On such occasions, man is led to comprehend his own insignificance as compared with other creations of God. The monotony of the voyage was often broken by animated discussions with non-" Mormon" passengers, upon religious topics, plural marriage being the leading one.

After arriving in Liverpool, I was appointed to labor in the Birmingham Conference under the direction of Elder Parry, who afterwards died of the small-pox, he being the second to succumb to that fatal disease in that conference. During my short stay in Liverpool, I learned to appreciate the quiet of our mountain home. In all my life I had never seen so much drunkenness, quarreling, fighting with both male and female, prostitution, and debauchery of every description, as I saw there in the short space of twenty-four hours.

On my way from Liverpool to my field of labor, I called at Manchester to see my wife's brother, Oliver, who had been traveling in that conference the previous twelve months. A few days were very agreeably spent witli him in visiting among the Saints. I then proceeded to Birmingham, where I found the Saints generally very poor, very anxious to gather, but in most instances unable to do so. It was then I could realize the benefits and blessings derived from our system of emigration.

While in this conference, I had an opportunity to visit many relatives and procure genealogies for several generations back. In all instances my friends were pleased to see me, and received me with kindness, but seemed to care nothing for the principles of the Gospel.


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My stay in Birmingham was short. In consequence of the illness of Elder Bromley, I was sent to Bristol to preside in his stead. I found the people in this locality in much worse circumstances than where I had previously labored. Farm hands worked for from six to seven shillings per week ; and with this small pittance had to furnish their families with all the necessities and comforts of life, if they had them. Often I have seen families make a meal of turnip-top greens and dry bread. I then learned to appreciate the luxuries of Deseret, and the blessings that God bestows upon His people; and if Joseph Smith had actually been an impostor, he still deserves great credit for inaugurating a system of religion that has been the means of bringing so many from a state of Avretched- ness, and making them comparatively independent.

The Saints of this conference, though poor, were very kind; I made many excellent acquaintances, traveled a great deal on foot, and baptized a few; among them was one Joseph Smith; he had been convinced for many years, but put oft' baptism until he was so worked upon that he could delay no longer.

It was during my labors here that President George A. Smith and other Palestine tourists landed in England and held a conference in London, which I attended, and had truly a happy time in meeting the brethren and sisters from home, especially Father Snow and Aunt Eliza. "We spent a few days in visiting the principal places of interest in that noted city the Crystal Palace, the Albert Memorial, etc.

In June, 1872, I was appointed to the Manchester Confer- ence. I found the Saints much as elsewhere, but generally better in temporal -circumstances ; still the people were so edu- cated to spend what they earned, that whether they received seven, twelve or twenty shillings per week, none could be laid away for any future purpose.

In this conference I rebaptized Brother Moorhouse, who had not been an active member in the Church for a number of


AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 383

years, but as good a soul as ever lived. He afterward died in full fellowship.

I will here relate an incident which will show the amount of interest taken in " Mormonism" by some. Sunday, Novem- ber 10, 1872, I went from Macclesfield to Longton to fill an appointment with the Saints of the Burslem branch, which was my first visit to that branch. I was met at the station by a Brother Tovey, who piloted me to the meeting house, informing me on the way that they had engaged a hall capable of seating three hundred persons, had placarded the town, advertising E. A. Box, Esq., from America, to deliver two lec- tures that day, on the principles of the Gospel. This news was somewhat startling; it was the first time I had been adver- tised as a lecturer, and then to lecture to three hundred stran- gers, this was the capacity of the hall, and not more than a do/en Saints in the branch; and Brother Tovey was sanguine the hall would be full. I determined to put myself in the hands of the Lord, and if He wished that large congregation converted, He must do it through me. Meeting was opened at 10 a.m., and Brother Platt, president of the branch, and I occupied the forenoon. Our hearers were seven Saints, three strangers and one apostate. In the afternoon I occupied most of the time; we had present the same number of Saints, with three apostates and one stranger. So much for the ample hall and liberal advertisement.

In June, 1873, I was released to return home. I sailed from Liverpool in charge of three hundred and fifty Saints, on the tenth of July. As land faded from sight, marly thoughts passed through my mind. I had been on English soil a little more than two years, had formed the acquaintance of hun- dreds of Saints, and many strangers of almost all classes, had preached and borne testimony before Saints and sinners, had met and conversed with those who knew not God, had seen many relative for the first time, had traveled on foot a little more than six thousand miles; and the following questions


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arose: Have I done any good? Have any believed my report? Have I been the cause of any stumbling in the path of life? Shall I ever set foot on those shores again? The future only could tell, and that was silent.

The trip by sea, excepting one stormy day, was very agreeable. Apostle Erastus Snow crossed the ocean with us, and the time was spent in holding meetings, concerts, etc.

I reached home on the second of August, after an absence of two years and three months; having visited the principal cities of England, Scotland and Wales; had enjoyed myself exceedingly in my missionary labors, with all the consequent hardships and privations; I could recall but one season of des- pondency, and that was on hearing of the death of my mother and sickness of my two little children. Through the blessing of God, on my return I found my immediate family all alive and well.

I soon engaged in school teaching in Ogdeii City moved my family there and remained one year, then returned to Brigham City, where I followed the same profession for several consecutive years.

In the autumn of 1876 I was chosen to preside over the the Mutual Improvement Association of Brigham City, and afterwards, when the city was divided into four wards, I was appointed over the Second Ward, which position T occupy at present (1884).

When Box Elder Stake of Zion was re-organized in 1877 I was chosen First Counselor to Oliver G. Snow, President of the Stake.

My family now numbers ten. In obedience to the law of celestial marriage, I entered into the marriage relation with Sarah Hadley, who is now the mother of two children.

ELIJAH A. Box.