Patience Delilah Pierce – 1809

A Sketch of the Life of

Patience Delila Pierce Palmer

Written by her son William Moroni Palmer

Patience Delila Pierce Palmer was born February 15, 1809, near Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County, New York and was on of the daughters of Isaac Pierce and Elizabeth Taylor Pierce.  Her grandfather was a Revolutionary Soldier as was also her husband’s father.  Theses soldiers fought and bled to establish the right for all men to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences.  Her husband, Abraham Palmer, son of Noah Palmer, was born at Sherburn, Shenange County, New York.  They were married in 1825 and in 1834 two humble elders came to their home in St. Lawrence County bearing testimony that God had spoken again from the heavens and restored the fullness of His gospel to earth again.  They being chosen ones immediately receive the message with joy and on February 14, 1835, b y divine authority, they were baptized in a hole made through the ice, and had hands laid upon them for the gift of the Holy Ghost, which blessing never forsook them to their dying day.

Abraham Palmer was appointed president of a small branch of the church and in May 1838 this branch, consisting of eight families, started with their teams to gather at Far West, Missouri, having met many mobs who searched their wagons and took away their books and guns.  They arrived at Haun’s Mill, and went into camp four miles below the mill the night before the terrible massacre.  The following sketches written by Sister Palmer herself will tell graphically what followed.

FOLLOWING EXCERPT TAKEN FROM UTAH MAGAZINE OF FEBRUARY 1892

It was in the fall of 1838 that eight families of us were on our way from New York to Far West in Missouri where many of the Saints were gathered.  In our journey we had had our wagon searched by mobs and our books and guns taken from us.  When we came to Shoal Creek we could go no farther on account of surrounding mobs, so we camped there four miles below Haun’s Mill, the night before the massacre.  At the mill the saints and mob had made a treaty that neither party should molest the other.

The day following was beautiful and warm, and in the afternoon the other sister and myself were washing our clothes in the creek and the children, with shoes and stockings off, were playing about when a boy on a horse, came riding furiously down the creek.  He told us that the mob was killing the saints at the mill.  What were we to do?  There were no arms in camp, so we were unable to defend ourselves.  Without stopping to put shoes or stockings on our children we hastily fled towards the woods.  Our husbands remained.

I had six small children at my side and a baby at my breast.  We ran over brush, over hills and hollows and as our children ran over the rough untrodden ground stains of blood were left from their tender feet.  When we would stop for a short rest mothers would take their clothes from their backs to lay on the ground for the children to stand on and warm their cold raw feet.  Once for a rest, while in the woods, we drawled under a tree that had fallen down.  During the night we traveled through the woods and over burnt prairie.  In the morning we heard the call of our husbands, and returned with them to camp.

The mob at the mill killed eighteen and instead of coming down to our camp as they had intended, they became frightened lest an army of saints from Far West were coming down the creek and fled over a twenty five mile prairie that night.  Thus we see, “the wicked flee when no man pursueth.”  This we subsequently learned from Brother Standing, one of our company who had been taken prisoner previous to the massacre.

After our return to camp our husbands went to the mill to prepare the dead for burial.  While they were away, we saw a mob, armed and on horses, approaching.  They rode down toward us to the brow of a hill a short distance away and stopped.  Another sister and myself went to them and the captain with drawn sword advanced.  I asked him what they intended to do with us.  He said, to our surprise, his company should not harm us, but he advised us to leave the vicinity for a mob of furious men were coming.  He told us of an unguarded back wood road, from which the guard had been taken and also of a man who could act as guide.  He then requested us to promise we would not reveal what he had told us for, if it became know, his life would be in danger.

We did as advised, broke up camp and started for the woods.  When we had traveled about fifteen miles we stopped for several days waiting for orders from Far West.  While there, one of the brethren arrived with the news that the saints had agreed to leave the State.  We then moved on.  Our food soon gave out and we had nothing to eat.  My husband got some corn, and that was all we had for three weeks.  We would parch the corn and then eat it, but the small children could not do that.  We had to partly chew it ourselves, it having been parched, and then feed it to them.  We lived in this way for three long weeks, and then our corn gave out and we were without food of any kind for two days and a half.  On the night of the third day we procured a sack of flour and then having nothing but the flour, we lived several days on spoon cakes, made by mixing four with water and baking in dry skillets.

During all the time our children neither murmured nor complained.  Had it not been for the help of the Lord, we never could have endured as we did.

TRIALS OF FAITH IN DAYS GONE BY

As I could not give details in my competition “Experience” that appeared in your February number of your Magazine, I thought a little more of my personal experience might be of interest and perhaps a benefit to your many readers.

The reason for our company living for three weeks on parched corn was not due to us having no money, for there was money in the camp.  We repeatedly tried to buy provisions from the settlers as we moved along on our weary way in leaving the State of Missouri, in compliance with the Governor’s extermination order.  The whole country was stirred to a fever heat in persecuting the saints, and the people would not sell us food.  For example, my husband wanted to get a horse shod that had become so tender footed that he could travel no further without shoes.  He took him five or six miles in advance of the company to a small village.  As he was no known, they shod his horse and took him in the house for dinner.  While they were eating our company passed.  The women and larger children were walking, holding up their skirts, while wading through the mud and slush, which was ankle deep in many places as it rained and snowed nearly all the time.  The woman of the house, seeing us go by said:  “I wish all those women and children would take cold and die.”  The man said viciously,  “I wish I could see old Joe Smith tied to a pile of wood and I have the privilege of kindling it.  I would say to the fire, ‘burn slow’.”

One might ask why my husband did not buy food under this disguise as a single horseman.  He did try and at once was denounced as a “Mormon”.  During that never-to-be-forgotten journey coming out of Missouri, we traveled through mud, snow and ice as had been stated, nearly all the way.  All excepting the little children went on foot.  As we had already traveled a thousand miles or more that summer to get to Missouri, our horses were almost worn out, and it was all they could do to slowly move our wagons.

One day a company of mobber’s going to Far West surrounded us calling us to halt, and the leader, with drawn sword, asked for the captain of our company.  My husband stepped out to him.  The leader said:  “We have orders from the Governor to search your wagons and take your guns and books.”

Mr. Palmer told him our wagons had been searched and our guns taken from us, and showed a receipt to that effect.  They then rode on, and as they did so, one man placed the muzzle of his gun almost against my breast and said, “I swore I’d kill a d-d Mormon when I left home, and now is my chance.”  I looked him fearlessly in the eyes when the captain told to put down his gun, which he did, and then rode on.  One man, a more humane one said as he passed me:  “Good woman, you had better go and get into your wagon.  You will catch your death wading through this water and mud.”  They rode to the top of a hill we had just descended and simultaneously fired off their guns, making the air ring with demoniac yells.

One day I will ever remember, we traveled over a prairie.  It was covered with ice, slush and snow.  One step the ice would hold us up, and the next would break through hover our shoe tops; thus our feet were wet all the daylong.  At night we camped by a stream of water with timber and brush along its banks.  We parched our corn, of which we made our supper, after which some cut down brush to sleep upon to keep their beds out of the water that was running everywhere.  Some slept in the wagons, which was but little better, as the covers had become worn and torn from our long traveling.

Next morning I awoke and looked around.  My husband had a fire burning and was thawing out his clothes so that he could put them on.  I saw my little children covered with snow that had fallen during the night.  Everything was dreary.  Snow was sifting into my bed.  I knew when I should get up with my little ones shivering around the campfire, that I would have nothing to give them to eat but parched corn, and realizing that our supply of that was becoming short, my heart sank within me, and I burst into weeping.

What had we done to be thus treated by our fellow countrymen?  My husband’s father suffered untold hardships all through the Revolutionary War; and had fought and bled to establish American freedom; so had my grandfather.  They had labored and suffered that all men might enjoy religious liberty in this land, and there we were, fleeing before a relentless and bloodthirsty mob, composed of American citizens sent out by the Governor to compel us to leave the state, and all this because we believed that God was the same unchangeable Being, that He had spoken from the Heavens once more and restored the Gospel as it was revealed by Jesus Christ when He was on the earth, through His chosen servant Joseph Smith, the prophet.  My husband heard me crying, and with a tremor in his voice said:  “Cheer up, my dear, we will live and shine forth in the Kingdom of our God, when these murderous mobber’s are in perdition; and more, I will yet have the privilege of preaching the Gospel.”  This speech so comforted me, that I arose with a light heart and in the midst of snow, slush and ice around our campfires, parched our corn, ate it and praised the Lord our God.

Marvelous to say, notwithstanding all this exposure and the privations we endured, our health did not fail nor our strength desert us, for the Lord was always with us and blessed us, and we had a positive knowledge that Joseph was a prophet of God, and that we had been born of the water and of the Spirit and had received the truth, as it is in Christ Jesus.  That testimony is with me to this day.  Although I have passed through much, having been with the Church through hall its wanderings, having been a member since 1835, and am now eighty-three years old, still, I bear testimony that I do know that we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that this Church and Kingdom is God’s work and will stand forever.

The reader left us camped on the banks of a creek in the slush by our campfires eating our corn.  We then moved on, exerting ourselves to the utmost to get out of the State of Missouri before the winter closed in upon us.  We found ourselves with only bitter enemies to depend upon for work and to supply us with food.  As we were traveling, one of the sisters became sick.  We camped a few hours and a child was born.  Then we moved on again.  The mother and child were so blessed of the Lord that they thrived as well as if they had been in a comfortable house.  Our corn gave out, and as has been stated, we went without food of any kind for two and a half days.  Then we got one sack of flour, which was divided between eight families, and this we ate made into water cakes, as already described.  We ate the last of this flour, for breakfast one morning, and had no food of any kind until the next evening.  During the forenoon my husband picked up by the roadside a box of pills labeled, “For fever and ague.”  We camped about the middle of the afternoon, our teams being exhausted an well as ourselves, – they only getting prairie grass for fodder, and no grain, and having to drag our wagons through the snow, that had now become quite deep.

After we camped, some of the men went in search of food, and I unobserved by the rest of the company, wended my way across a field to a small farmhouse, which I entered.  I found several of the family sick with fever and ague of long standing.  I produced the box of pills we had found.  They were very anxious to buy them so they gave me about twenty-five pounds of unbolted flour and a bucket of frozen apples.  I hurried to the camp and distributed the flour and apples among the hungry families.  Notwithstanding we had only water to mix our bread with, and no sugar for the stewed apples, it seemed I never ate such a delicious meal.  The brethren returned, having procured a little food.

That evening, if memory serves me right, we held a council to find out what was best to be done.  The snow was getting so deep the road so bad, and our teams so worn out, and ourselves in such a destitute and worn out condition – having traveled all the summer and fall, and suffered so many hardships, and exposure – that it became impossible for us to go farther without recruiting ourselves and horses.

Now came a serious question to consider.  We all belonged to one branch of the church in St. Lawrence County, New York, and when we started for Missouri, we made a solemn covenant that we would stick together until we reached the settlements of the saints, but not is seemed almost impossible for all of us to get into one neighborhood for winter quarters.  There were reasons for this, viz:  First, it might arouse the mob spirit to see so many of us together, notwithstanding we had gotten out of the districts where the most bitter feelings existed.  Second, it would be hard for so many to get work in one township, so we agreed to part.  We sang the hymns of Zion, offered our prayers to the Lord, asked His forgiveness, if we did wrong in separating for a while, and invoked His special blessings upon each to guide us to food and shelter.  That farewell meeting, in the snow by our campfires, will never be forgotten by me.  The next morning we separated; two families going together, each in a different direction, to find homes for the winter.

My sister, Ruth Crosier, with husband and children went with us.  We soon got a house to live in for the winter and Mr. Palmer (being a carpenter by trade) took a contract to build and finish a frame church.

Now, young reader, see how the hand of the Lord was over us that we might keep our covenants with each other and receive the necessities of life also.  The word was soon noised about that Mr. Palmer was a “Mormon” preacher and he was asked to preach in their schoolhouse the following Sunday.  An appointment was given out accordingly.  Imagine our surprise, on going to the meeting, to find all our brethren and sisters of the company there, and to learn that we were all within two miles of the schoolhouse.  Mr. Palmer gave employment to all the brethren to work on the church.  Thus the Lord opened the way for us to get food and clothing.  We held our meetings every Sunday, and greatly rejoiced in the Gospel.

In March 1839, we again started to leave the state, ourselves and teams being now recruited.  We had bought food and clothing with the product of our labor, but could take but little of the former with us, as our teams were light, and the winter was just breaking up.  The roads were muddy and we encountered frequent storms, all of which made the journey unpleasant, though not so bad as during the previous fall, when mobs were tantalizing us and we destitute and hungry, wading through the med and slush.

At last, we arrived at the Mississippi, opposite the city of Quincy.  There we found hundreds of the families of the saints, camping of the banks of the river, awaiting their turns to cross in the one ferry boat that was plying back and forth carrying the exiled saints from the cruel State of Missouri to the friendly shores of Illinois.  What a scene!  Thousands of honest, humble followers of Christ, destitute of the necessities of life, fleeing before a relentless mob, made up of our own countrymen, backed by the cruel exterminating order of the Governor, and all this, because we believed in new revelation, that “God is the same, yesterday, today and forever.”

I hope my young readers will stop and consider these things and ask themselves the question “Was not the Lord, our Father, with us?”  Yes, and He has never forsaken me to this day, and as I stand upon the brink of the grave and expect to soon meet my Maker, let me once more bear testimony that I know Joseph Smith to be a prophet of God, and Mormonism, so called, to be the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

——-Patience D. Palmer

I cannot help copying a portion of the prayer and prophecy of Joseph Smith given while he was lying bound in Liberty Jail for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.  “O God, where art thou?  And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?  How long shall thy hand be stayed and thine eye, yea they pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people, and of thy servants and thine ear be penetrated with their cries?  Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions before thine heart shall be softened toward them, and they bowels be moved with compassion toward the?”   (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 121, verses 1,2, and 3.  Now we will hear what the Lord says in regard to the suffering of His people, verse 23 reads as follows:  “Woe unto all those that discomfort my people and drive and murder and testify against them, saith the Lord of Hosts; a generation of vipers shall not escape the damnation of hell.  Behold, mine eyes see and know all their works, and I have in reserve a swift judgment in the season thereof for them all; for there is a time appointed for every man, according as his works shall be.”  One should read this whole section.

Sister Palmer says in her record that these hundreds of exiles who were camped on the bank of the Mississippi met in a general prayer and thanksgiving meeting; that the gift of tongues and of prophecy were poured out upon them and Sister Davies, one of their company sang in tongues and Sister Palmer sang the interpretation, a part of which she remembered and recorded as follows:

“Come ye, my people, saith the Lord,

Come Israel, gather home.

Join hearts and hands with one accord,

Come out of Babylon.

A war with troops will soon appear

In battle all array

A bloody scene will soon take place

In North America.”

How literally was this prophecy fulfilled and the words of the Lord to Joseph Smith fulfilled in the outbreak of the Civil War, when the guerrillas raided Missouri.

After crossing the Mississippi River these exiles went whereever they could get work.  Mr. Palmer and family went to Springfield where he, being a carpenter, found work on the state house.  Mr. Palmer was appointed bishop there.  While residing in Now York state, an extract from which follows:  Their son, William M., while laboring as a missionary found this sister in Michigan in 1880 and found that the letter had done a wonderful wok.  It was like bread cast upon the water and seen after many days.  He baptized her just two years before her death.

“Springfield, Illinois, June 26, 1839

Dear Brother and Sister,

Through the tender mercies of our God, we are well until this time.  It is now one year since we left that place.  Various and strange have been the scenes through which we had passed, but we yet live and praised by the name of the Lord.  – No doubt you have heard many things from Missouri respecting our people.  I will now tell you what I know of the transactions in as few words as I can.  A mob of about two hundred drove about eight families from Dewitt on the Missouri.  They fired upon our brethren but killed none.  This was in October.  We called upon the Governor for aid but got none.  Thus we were left to be murdered by brutes in the form of men or defend ourselves.  We had been smitten twice, yes three times and had borne it, but we said, we would bear it no longer without resistance.  Many of our brethren were shot, thrown into the brush while at work, their bodies left to be devoured and without doubt their bones lie bleaching in the sun.  About the first of November we got to Livingston County, Missouri; here thirty-eight men with rifles surrounded our wagons and robbed us of three guns and gave us much abuse.  Then we passed on into Caldwell County.  I then went to a place four or five miles from our camp where our brethren, forty or fifty in number, had collected to defend themselves at a mill from a lawless bandit.  I had just returned to our camp when, to our surprise, news came that the mob had fallen upon our friends at the mill and were killing men, women and children.  This was near sunset; the next moment we expected to share the same fate.  No pen can describe, no tongue can tell the horrors of the scenes; fond mothers weeping over their smiling babies and helpless children which they soon expected to see strangling in death, yet God was our deliverance.  Well do I remember that dreadful night when, in company with two other brethren, we went in search of some of the survivors of the slaughtered mane, women and children who had fled to the woods for safety; yes, they his themselves in the holes of the earth awaiting in solemn silence the approach of day.  Their grief was beyond teats.  The mob that murdered our brethren was 250 in number; our brethren forty or fifty.  No quarter was given them.  Two boys were killed.  Some of the wounded were shot again for fear they would not die.  One little boy was pleading for his father’s life, who lay bleeding with wounds, when one of the mob put his gun to the boy’s head and blew his brains out.  Two of the women had their dresses shot full of holes; one was shot through the hand and many men were wounded and all this for our religion.  The next night the mob told us we might have our choice either to deny our faith or leave the country or death would be our portion.  We chose the latter preferring rather affliction with the people of God and enjoyment of the treasures of earth, knowing it is for righteousness sake.  Many were cast into prison where some yet remain.  Brother Joseph is set free.  Our people were not the aggressors but stood in their own defense.  The Governor called out 15,000 troops to protect the mob and drive us from the state; drive or exterminate was the order.  O my God, has it come to this that nothing but mob law can prevail?  We were all condemned to banishment without trial.  We came back seventy-five miles through snow and rain during the coldest time we had last winter to Hunkville, Missouri.  Here we stayed until spring where I took a job to build a meetinghouse.  In April, Isaac Pierce took my family into Illinois but I stayed until my job was finished.  I am now at work in this place on the state house at $2.00 per day.”

Sister Palmer wrote as follows:

“Dear Sister,

If any of our friends ask you if we have denied the faith tell them no, nor would not for our lives for it we should we would expect nothing to follow us but eternal damnation, for we do know for surety that it is eternal truth and the angels bear witness of it and so do we for we do know that heaven and earth may pass away but this work will stand forever.  So my dear brother and sister I do entreat you, by the grace of God, to enlist in the work before it is too late.  Oh, how I feel for the welfare of the souls of my friends.  My persecutions are nothing, death is nothing but to reign on the earth with our blessed Redeemer, Oh, what gain, what joy, what comfort, what satisfaction it is for the saints of God, in the hour of trouble, to look forward to that time when there will be no mob, no persecutions, no envyings, no strife, no murdering, no lying, no slandering of the saints!  My soul leaps within me for joy when I look forward to that time.”

Soon after this they were called to Nauvoo to work on the temple, as Mr. Palmer was a carpenter and joiner.  He was also made a member of the police force of that city.

After arriving in Nauvoo, Sister Palmer received a Patriarchal Blessing under the hands of Joseph Smith, Senior, the first Patriarch.  An extract from the blessing reads as follows, and show a wonderful fulfillment of prophecy:

“Thou has passed through many trials for the gospel’s sake and thou has been true and faithful and thou wilt pass through many more but the Lord will never forsake thee but will deliver thee from the hands of all thine enemies and thou shalt live until thou are eighty five years of age.”

Sister Palmer was eighty-five on the 15th of February and died on the 25th of March following.

She was present at the organization of the first Relief Society and was there set apart by the Prophet Joseph as one of the visiting committee whose duties were to visit all families, wash and anoint the sisters preparatory to their being administered to by the elders.  They were also to discover if any pecuniary aid was needed.  During the winter of 1845-46 she and her husband worked in the temple all the time that ordinances were given and they received all the blessings pertaining to that house.

A fulfillment of another prophecy is seen in the following incident.  In the spring of 1846, she became sick, nigh unto death.  Apostle Heber C. Kimball was called in to administer unto her.  Holding her by the hand he said, “Sister Palmer, you want me to say something to you, and I will say in the name of the Lord that you shall not die and that I shall shake hands with you in the great American wilderness.”  The leaders of the church were about to leave for the west at this time.

Sister Palmer often related the scenes in Nauvoo at the time the two martyrs were brought from Carthage; how their hearts were torn with sorrow; how tears poured down every cheek.  This mighty blow did not check the work in the least.  The people went to work with double diligence to finish the temple.  The women took their jewelry and sold it to get money to apply on the temple; and at last, oh, the joy when it was dedicated!  Sister Palmer relates at that service Brother Watts sang the hymn, “Come to me.  Will you come to the Saints that have died?”  It seemed to her as if the whole house was filled with angels.  They now had the privilege of going into that house and working for the living and the dead, but alas, that hatred that kills the prophets gathered more thickly around them.  The hand of persecution was upon them right and left.  Over 20,000 people had gathered at Nauvoo.

One day Sister Palmer’s husband came home and said, “We have agreed with the mob to leave the state.”  For a few moments her heart sank within her and she cried, “Oh cruelty, cruelty, why do we have to go into the wilderness?”  Her husband said, “Let us pray.”  So they kneeled down and prayed with tears streaming down their cheeks, and as they seemed to hear a voice say, “All will be well.  I am with you.”  They arose and Mr. Palmer picked up the Bible and read, “If the world hates you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world the world would love her own; but because you are not of the world, therefore, the world hateth you.”  (John 15:18-19)  He closed the bible and said, “Shall we return to the world?  They will then love us.”  Sister Palmer cried, “No, no, a thousand times no.  We will go where he wants us to go.”

Can any pen describe or tongue relate the feelings of those thousands of innocent people driven into the wilds of Iowa as winter was approaching, leaving their homes and all they had, taking their little children and a very few things such as bedding and a few provisions such as they could carry and crossing the Mississippi into the woods and prairies of Iowa?  Twenty thousand people without homes, destitute with not enough to feed themselves only for a few days, getting shelter the best they could.  The subject of this sketch with her family got into a little log hut that had been built by trappers.  It had no door and there were large cracks between the logs.  While here they heard the bombarding and saw the smoke from their beautiful city.  Thousands of saints were in similar conditions along the river and some perhaps worse, for there were many poor and sick among them.  These people had all been driven from their homes because they believed God had again spoken from the heavens.

On the 10th of December in this little log hut in a snowstorm, which was driven through the cracks, Sister Palmer’s tenth child, William Moroni was born, and she never got along better in her life.  There were two families living in this hut consisting of fourteen people.  They went to Montrose and there fifteen families got into one house with several rooms.  All the men at last found work and the women took in sewing and washing.  After their day’s work was finished the men would work to build vehicles to go west in.  They saved all they could do to buy oxen and cows for teams and thus for two years they struggled on, traveling part of the time and stopping to work part of the time.  Sister Palmer relates that during this time, she saw hundreds of families in all kinds of vehicles traveling to the west not knowing where they were going, but following the prophets of God.

Very late in the fall of 1848 this small company arrived upon Potowattome Creek, at an Indian village, fifty miles from Kanesville, now Council Bluffs.  The snow had become so deep they could travel no farther.  The houses in this forsaken Indian village were guilt of poles and bark and into these the fifteen families went.  On account of the deep snow they could not obtain provisions but fortunately they found a cache of corn left by the Indians.  During the greater part of this winter they lived upon parched corn and hominy, which they made by soaking the corn in lye water, they having made the lye from ashes to remove the hulls, then washing and boiling it without meat or butter.  They also ground corn with the two great stones, which the Indians had left.  This is done by placing the corn in the hollow of a stone and crushing it by rolling another stone on top.  The young men would occasionally kill pheasants, which were always divided among all of them.  On one occasion an ox broke through the ice and was drowned but they pulled it out and used it for meat.  They saved their cattle by shoveling the snow off from the tall grass and chopping down trees for them to browse on.  There was an Indian hut twenty by thirty feet, which they used for a meetinghouse in which to worship God and praise His holy name for the restoration of the gospel.  In this colony of fifteen families eight children were born during the winter and spring.  There was born to Sister Palmer on the 9th of February 1849, in this Indian hut her last child, a son, which she named Hyrum Smith.  Among these families she mentions the names of Ferrin, Petingill Marshe, Warner, Clyde, Carpenter, David, and Pierce, the latter the family of Isaac Pierce, brother of Sister Palmer, who had died by the wayside.

In the fall of 1849 all these families went to Kanesville where Elder Palmer was appointed bishop by Apostle Orson Hyde and also chosen to remain and fit out companies for the west.  In the spring of 1852, having built their own wagons and gathered together oxen and cows for teams, they started for the great Salt Lake Basin where thousands of saints’ had preceded them.  Truly they all wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way and found no city to dwell in but the saints preceding them had begun to build the city of habitation and to sow the fields and plant the vineyards.

On arriving in Salt Lake City in October, they went up into the main part of the city where they met Apostle Heber C. Kimball who grasped them by the hand and said to Sister Palmer, “The last time I saw you, you were in Nauvoo in your sick bed and here you are in the wilderness,” thus fulfilling another prophecy.  They then went to work with the rest of the saints to make the wilderness blossom as the rose, which surely has been accomplished.  See Isaiah chapter 35.

In 1854 them moved to Ogden City, which then was a small village.  Abraham Palmer was chosen counselor to Lorin Farr in the first Stake Presidency of Weber County and Sister Palmer was made the first president of the Relief Society in Weber County.  She worked diligently in this capacity, helping the poor during the grasshopper ravages.  She and her assistants went form house to house, gathered cast off clothing, remodeled and distributed it among the poor.  During this time a tabernacle was built in Ogden and the Relief Society took useless rags and made carpet to cover the aisles and carded and spun wool which they colored with dyes made from brush and bark and ochre form Ogden Canyon and made enough carpet to cover the stand, the vestry and the prayer circle chamber.

Then, lo, the cry came in 1857, “Your old enemies are following you up.  The government is sending an army against you because of the influence of wicked and designing men.”  In the spring of 1858 the word of the Lord came through the Prophet.  “Pack up, Oh Israel and flee to the south.  Prepare your homes to be burned with fire if necessary.”  The Relief Society distributed the carpet, the rag carpet for wagon covers, and woolen carpet for skirts for women and shirts for men and children.  The spectacle of these thousands of people moving southward was a wonderful sight.  One could see trains of families by the hundred leaving their homes, their gardens, their fields and everything.  Sister Palmer went with her family to Spanish Fork where she lived all summer in a willow shack, which they built.  Then the government found out through Colonel Kane, who investigated, that the stories of disloyalty of the Mormons were all lies and they soon made a treaty with the saints asking them to return to their homes, which they did.

I have not stated that during their first year in Ogden, they lived upon greens and sego and bread made from bran and shorts.  Afterwards they moved to San Pete County where some of their children were located, where Abraham Palmer died in May 1875 at Fayette.  Sister Palmer then lived with her son, William Moroni at Glenwood and later at Aurora, Sevier County where she died March 25, 1894 and was buried by the side of her husband in Fayette, Sanpete County, Utah.

All during Sister Palmer’s strenuous life she acted as a midwife and doctor, administering help and comfort to all in need.  Of the hundreds of women she waited on she never lost one woman or child, which she ascribes to the fact that a prayer was always on her lips for divine assistance whenever she waited on the sick.

She was also a schoolteacher of considerable success, having taught in Annabel, Sevier County; Deseret, Millard County; and Chicken Creek, Juab County.  She was very genial, kind disposition, beloved by all and especially the children.  Truly a more righteous, patient and humble woman never lived.  She had devoted her whole life to the gospel of Christ and had now gone to her reward.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melanie Westover
    Aug 07, 2016 @ 20:18:37

    Thank you so much for writing this and recording history. I appreciate it as her ggggrandaughter. Melanie Westover

    Reply

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