Biography and family record of Lorenzo Snow/Chapter VIII
In Di-Ahman.—Our father's purchases.—Friendliness of the "old settlers."—A
spirit of hostility prevalent.—Millers would not grind our wheat.—
Grating corn for our bread.—How we cooked the grated meal.—A
strange move; the old settlers abscond.—Their reports in the surrounding
country.—The Military quells the uprising.—A horse mill in operation.—Mobs
arouse with increased force.—Government sends Militia.—
They are set to guard the Saints, who are ordered to leave the county
within ten days.—The halfway house.—Food frozen.—How we ate supper.—Sleepless
and jolly.—Arrive in Far West.—Seven miles out.—
Move to Illinois.—To Warren County.—To LaHarpe.—To Nauvoo.
WE will now leave Lorenzo in LaHarpe, preparing for a visit to Nauvoo, and return to Adam-ondi-Ahman, where he left us. In Di-Ahman, Daviess County, Missouri, our father purchased and paid in full for two homesteads, including the farm crops. The "old settlers," as the inhabitants were called, were very anxious to sell to the Latter-day Saints, who, at the time, did not comprehend nor suspect their villainy. They were obsequiously kind and friendly in their manner towards us as strangers, and we did not, for the time being, suspect their sincerity; but the sequel proved that they had made arrangements for mobbing and driving us, previous to selling, and then, according to their programme, re-take possession of the purchased premises.
Before Lorenzo started on his southern mission, as reported in his journal, a spirit of mobocracy was boldly manifested by leading citizens in the county opposing the Latter-day Saints, and at the August election preventing their vote—also putting them to great inconvenience by laying an embargo on all of the flouring mills in that section, and preventing our people from obtaining breadstuff. Our father had abundance of wheat, but could get no grinding. In this dilemma we had to resort to graters, made by perforating tin pails and stovepipes, on which we grated corn for bread material. We tried boiled wheat, but found that it did not retain much nourishment; and our grated corn meal, when cooked by the usual process of bread making, was not quite so solid as lead, but bore a more than satisfactory resemblance to it. "Necessity, the mother of invention," prompted experimenting, and we set our wits to work to make our meal not only eatable, but palatable.
We had a fine crop of "Missouri pumpkins" (which, being interpreted, means the choicest kind), produced from the soil our father bought; these we stewed with a good supply of moisture, and when boiling hot, stirred it into our grated meal, which, when seasoned with salt and nicely baked—well buttered or in milk, was really very delicious; the main thing was to get enough, especially after the mob had driven in the scattered settlers, by which the number of our family was increased to twenty-five.
Elder Abel Butterfield, Lorenzo's traveling companion, was stopping with us, while waiting for my brother to regain his strength sufficient for travel, and as he required clothing made, previous to departure, my sister proposed to join me in doing his needle work, tailoring, etc., if, he would give his time in grating meal for the family, which he gladly accepted. It was hard work, and after he left, we took it by turns, soaking the corn when it became so dry as to shell from the cob.
Not long after our young missionaries left us, very early one morning, we were utterly astonished with the announcement that all of our neighbors, the "old settlers," including those of whom our father had purchased, had fled the country. On entering some of the vacated houses, clocks were seen ticking the time, coffee-pots boiling the coffee, and everything indicating a precipitate and compulsory flight. What could be the cause, and what the meaning of this unprecedented and really ominous movement was veiled in the deepest mystery, until the reaction solved it by bringing to light the most cruel perfidy. We soon learned that those unscrupulous hypocrites had scattered abroad through the settlements, arousing a mob feeling against the Latter-day Saints, by reporting that the "Mormons" had driven them from their homes, they having barely escaped with their lives at the expense of all they possessed.
This unprecedented move was sufficient pretext for an onslaught, and a general uprising of the people threatened an immediate extermination of the Latter-day Saints, which was prevented by an appeal to, and the intervention of, the military authority of the State. A posse was sent, which quelled the mob, and for a few days we had peace. The Saints took advantage of the quietus, purchased a horse-mill and soon had it in operation, and released the family graters.
But the peaceful interim was of short duration. It seemed that the turbulent spirit had gained strength by the recess, and broke out with redoubled fury. No Latter-day Saint was safe, and although our trust was in God, and we felt assured of His protection, it was wise for us to keep up a show of defence, as it had a tendency to awe our enemies. To us it was a novel sight, and would have been ludicrous (were it not painfully symptomatical of the situation) to see our venerable father walking to meeting on the Sabbath, with a Bible in one hand and a rifle in the other. At length an order was issued by the Governor of the State, for all of the Saints to leave Daviess County within ten days from date, the sixth of December, and a company of militia was stationed in Di-Ahman, for that length of time, ostensibly to protect us from the mob, but it was difficult to tell whether the mob or the militia was most dangerous.
Before we left, the former owner of the place where we lived, came in, and looking around very impudently, inquired how soon we would be out of the house. It required an effort, but we suppressed our feelings of indignation. The weather was extremely cold, and the morning we bid adieu to our honorably and honestly acquired transitory home, and much property which we were obliged to leave, after assisting what I could, I started before the teams, to warm my feet by walking. While musing on the changing and wonderful vicissitudes of mortal life as I walked quietly and alone, I was interrupted in my meditations by the approach of one of the militia. After the usual salutations of "Good morning," he said: "I think this will cure you of your faith." I looked him in the eye, and, with emphasis, replied, "No, sir, it will take more than this to cure me of my faith." His countenance dropped, and he said, "Well, I must confess you are a better soldier than I am." And we parted.
It took two days to go by team to Far West, and seventy-five persons, pilgrims like ourselves, put up at our stopping place for the night. It was a small vacated log house of one room only, which was the general nightly resort of people traveling from Di-Ahman to Far West. As we found it, the chinkings between the logs had been torn out, leaving open spaces through which gusts of wind had free play. When we arrived, the provisions we brought were solidly frozen, and the crowd of people was so dense, we could not avail ourselves of the fire. But we must have supper, and we could not eat hard frozen bread, and we adopted the following: The boys milked our cows, and before the milk was strained, one of us held the dish while another sliced the bread, and the third strained the warm milk into it, which thawed the bread; thus one after another, until all were plentifully served.
Bed time came, but there was no room for beds, except for the sick, and, indeed, there was very little sitting room. Our mother was quite feeble through fatigue and exposure, and we managed to fix a place for her to lie down, while our sister and myself sat on the floor, one on each side, to ward off the crowd. I can well remember that ever memorable night—how I dare not move lest I should disturb those around me, so closely were we packed. And withal, it was a jolly time, although with the majority, a sleepless night. Some ten or fifteen feet from the house was a small horse shed, in the centre of which the brethren built a roaring fire, and around it they stood, sometimes dancing to keep warm, some roasting potatoes, while others parched corn, and all joining in singing hymns and songs, merrily passing off the hours till the morning dawn. Many started very early, which gave us access to the fire for our morning meal.
Little would strangers, could they have witnessed those seventy-five Saints, without knowing our circumstances; I say, little would they have thought that we were exiles from our homes, going to seek among strangers, abiding places for the winter, in an adjoining county, and by order of the governor, leave the State and go we knew not where, in the Spring. They would naturally have thought us a pleasure party.
On the fifth of March, 1839, after wintering seven miles from Far West, in Caldwell County, we started en route for Illinois, landing in Quincy; we stopped there a short time, and from there our father moved to Warren County, in the same State; from there to LaHarpe, where Lorenzo found us, thence to Commerce, afterwards called Nauvoo.