Biography and family record of Lorenzo Snow/Chapter XVI

Biography and family record of Lorenzo Snow:
One of The Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
by Eliza Roxcy Snow
Chapter XVI


Garden Grove.—Pisgah.—Severe sickness.—Death of Elder Huntington.—Lorenzo called to preside.—Condition of the Saints.—A dilemma.—Lorenzo's policy.—How he succeeded.—A ludicrous and enjoyable entertainment.—Births.—Death.—Life incidents.—President Young's call.—Appointments.—Another wife.—Arrives in the Valley.—Ordained into the Quorum of the Twelve.—Builds a log house.

WE moved slowly forward. As this was the breaking up of winter, travel with teams was exceedingly difficult, especially as our teams were not suitably provided for; the animals lived mostly on browse (buds and twigs of trees, which were felled for this purpose), and, consequently, were weak and poor.

At a locality which we named Garden Grove, we made a halt, and commenced an improvement by building a few log huts, etc. This was done, more especially, for the benefit of those who would follow—a few remaining to cultivate the ground and prepare a resting place for the weary Saints, while the main body of the camp moved forward to another halting place, which we named Pisgah.

Now to my brother's journal: At this place I was taken seriously and dangerously ill with a burning fever, which so affected my brain that I was delirious many days, lying at the point of death. While in this condition, Elder Phineas Richards, the father of Apostle F. D. Richards, assisted by other kind brethren, took me from my bed, wrapped in a sheet—placed me in a carriage, drove to a stream of water, and baptized me in the name of the Lord, for my recovery. The fever immediately abated, and through kind, unwearied nursing and attention, by my faithful, loving wives, and my dear sister, E. R. S. Smith, aided and sanctified through the power and blessing of God, I was delivered from suffering and restored to health. The sickness was the result of extreme hardships and exposures consequent on the journey.

Elder William Huntington was called to preside over the settlement in Pisgah, which position he filled until, as many others in that location, he was removed by death, and his mortal remains consigned to the silent grave. After his death, Elder Charles G. Rich was appointed to fill the vacancy. In the following Spring, 1847, Elder Rich left for the Bluffs, to join the main body of emigrants, and I succeeded him as president of Pisgah.

By this time the Saints in Pisgah were in a very destitute condition, not only for food and clothing, but also for teams and wagons to proceed on their journey. Several families were entirely out of provision, and dependent on the charity of their neighbors, who, in most cases, were illy prepared to exercise that virtue. But, above all this, a sweeping sickness had visited the settlement, when there were not sufficient well ones to nurse the sick; and death followed in the wake, and fathers, mothers, children, brothers, sisters and dearest friends fell victims to the destroyer, and were buried with little ceremony, and some destitute of proper burial clothes. Thus were sorrow and mourning added to destitution. (Here the journal closes for the present.)

What a dilemma! And who better calculated to cope with it than Lorenzo Snow? With an indomitable energy— a mind fruitful in expedients, and a firmness of purpose that never yielded to discouragement, he proved himself equal to an emergency which would have terrified men of ordinary abilities.

In the first place he moved to arouse and combine the energies of the people—organized the brethren in companies, making selections of suitable men, some to proceed to the Gentile setlements to obtain work for provisions and clothing, others to put in crops at home and look after the families of those who were called away—to repair wagons, making new ones out of old, and to manufacture chairs, barrels, tubs, churns, baskets and such other articles as could be disposed of to advantage in the neighboring settlements.

In creating the desirable and necessary union and perfecting these arrangements, he met with much opposition from some who professed to be Latter-day Saints, in consequence of their ignorance and selfishness; but through the blessings of the Lord, he succeeded in having his plans successfully executed.

He sent Elders Dana and Cambell, two intelligent and judicious brethren, to the State of Ohio and other parts of the country, to solicit aid, to invite rich Gentiles to contribute to the wants of the Saints and assist them in their journey westward. They succeeded in gathering funds amounting to about six hundred dollars. The arrangements entered into resulted in supplying the people with abundance of food and clothing, besides facilitating the exodus of those who wished to proceed on the journey as early as practicable.

Now the journal speaks: I had the pleasure of taking a wagon load of provisions up to the Bluffs, and in behalf of the Saints of Pisgah, presenting it to President Brigham Young as a New Year's gift, who manifested a warm feeling of gratitude for this kind token of remembrance.

During the long winter months, I sought to keep up the spirits and courage of the Saints in Pisgah, not only by inaugurating meetings for religious worship and exercises, in different parts of the settlement, but also by making provisions for, and encouraging proper amusements of various kinds. These entertainments corresponded with our circumstances, and, of course, were of a very unpretentious and primitive character; their novel simplicity and unlikeness to anything before witnessed, added greatly to the enjoyment. They were truly exhibitions of ingenuity. As a sample, I will attempt a description of one, which I improvised for the entertainment of as many as I could reasonably crowd together in my humble family mansion, which was a one-story edifice, about fifteen by thirty, constructed of logs, with a dirt roof and ground floor, displaying at one end a chimney of modest height, made of turf cut from the bosom of Mother Earth. Expressly for the occasion we carpeted the floor with a thin coating of clean straw, and draped the walls with white sheets drawn from our featherless beds.

How to light our hall suitably for the coming event was a consideration of no small moment, and one which levied a generous contribution on our ingenuity. But we succeeded. From the pit where they were buried, we selected the largest and fairest turnips scooped out the interior, and fixed short candles in them, placing them at intervals around the walls, suspending others to the ceiling above, which was formed of earth and cane. Those lights imparted a very peaceable, quiet, Quakerlike influence, and the light reflected through those turnip rinds imparted a very picturesque appearance.

During the evening exercises, several of my friends, in the warmest expressions possible, complimented me and my family for the peculiar taste and ingenuity displayed in those unique and inexpensive arrangements.

The hours were enlivened, and happily passed, as we served up a dish of succotash, composed of short speeches, full of life and sentiment, spiced with enthusiasm, appropriate songs, recitations, toasts, conundrums, exhortations, etc., etc. At the close, all seemed perfectly satisfied, and withdrew, feeling as happy as though they were not homeless.

In Pisgah, my family was composed of the following individuals: Mary Adaline (my eldest wife); Hyrum, Orville and Jacob, her sons by a former husband; Charlotte, Sarah Ann, Harriet Amelia. Porter and John Squires continued as members of my family until we arrived in Salt Lake Valley, and, in fact, till I returned from my Italian mission.

All of the women above mentioned were sealed to me as my wives in the Temple at Nauvoo, where we all received our second anointings.

In Pisgah, Charlotte gave birth to a daughter (my firstborn), which we named Leonora, after my eldest sister. Also Adaline gave birth to a daughter, named Rosetta, after my mother.

Little Leonora was taken sick and died, and with deep sorrow we bore her remains to their silent resting place, to be left alone, far from her father and the mother who gave her birth. Sarah Ann also gave birth to a daughter, named after my sister and her mother, Eliza Sarah.

Before the spring opened and grass grew sufficient to sustain our stock, we were under the necessity of felling trees, to feed our animals upon the buds and twigs, to keep them alive.

In the latter part of winter, my only cow sickened and died, a loss which we seriously felt. She had been a great help to us on our journey, by supplying us with milk—was remarkably domesticated, kind and gentle. She was a present from Sister Hinckley, of Portage County, Ohio. People familiar with the circumstances of the Saints at that time would readily pardon my family for shedding a few tears on the occasion. Incidents which in after years would seem of very little or no consequence were at that time subjects of grave consideration.

One night, when our animals were driven into the corral, after having browsed among the tree tops through the day, it was discovered that one steer was missing. Early the next morning, with great anxiety, we went in search of it. About a mile from home we came to the river, along the bank of which our stock had been feeding. The stream was much swollen in consequence of the melting snow and ice. For a long time our search was fruitless; at last, when about to give up the pursuit, I discovered, on the opposite side of the river, the head and horns of my drowned ox protruding out between some large cakes of ice. I must confess a feeling of sadness stole over me at the unwelcome sight. It broke up one of my teams which it really seemed impossible for me either to spare or replace.

Early in the spring of 1848, Lorenzo was counseled by President Young to join him and his company, and proceed to the valleys of the mountains. Prompt to the instructions, he organized a company comprising about twenty-five families and started westward.

On arrival at the "Horn," he was appointed captain over one of the "hundreds," embracing one hundred wagons. He selected 'Elder Leman Hyde captain over one "fifty," and Elder John Stoker captain of the other "fifty."

On the day his company left their encampment at the "Horn," another wife, Eleanor, was sealed to him by President Brigham Young. The journal says: I managed to discharge my obligations as captain of my "hundred" very satisfactorily, for which I felt truly grateful to the Lord.

He arrived in the valley with his family without further serious accident—all in good health and rejoicing in the blessings of prospective peace. Soon after arrival, he was successful in obtaining what at that time was considered a fashionable log house, very similar in size, style and finish to that heretofore described which he left in Pisgah.

On the 12th of February, 1849, he was cited to put in an appearance at a meeting of the Twelve, then in session. Why or wherefore he could not imagine; but, with his characteristic promptitude, he went forthwith, ruminating in his mind whether he was called to answer some unsuspected charge or other; but a consciousness of faithful integrity to the duties assigned him predominated over every apprehension. To his great surprise, on arrival he was informed of his appointment to the Quorum of the Twelve, and was then ordained a member of that quorum. Elders C. C. Rich, Erastus Snow and F. D. Richards were also ordained into that quorum at the same time, under the hands of Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor.

In the spring and summer, with the assistance of Porter and John Squires, he built a log house on his lot in Salt Lake City, which, although a little more ample in dimensions and a little improved in appearance, bore a striking resemblance to those he occupied in Pisgah, and in Salt Lake City on his first entrance.