Obituary of Martha Hannah Braithwaite Cahoon (1860-1944)

Martha Hannah Braithwaite Cahoon

Martha was born to Robert Braithwaite and Harriet Amelia Beemus. She has eleven siblings: Mary, Emily, Robert, Harriet, Isabella, Lyness, Eleanor, Catherine, John, Willard, and Jesse. Martha married Robert Kenner about 1879 and they had one son, Robert. Martha then married James Cordon Casson Cahoon 12 May 1881 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was his second wife. They had nine children: Martha, Lillian, William, Stephen, Leslie, Orah, Leonard, Della and Cordon. After the death of James, she married William Edgar French 22 January 1925 in Cardston, Alberta. They did not have any children. Martha died in Leavitt, Alberta, Canada, and is buried there.


James Cordon Casson Cahoon 1847-1918 Grave Information

James Cordon Casson Cahoon Headston

FROM Find a Grave

Birth: Oct. 9, 1847

Douglas County, Nebraska, USA

Death: Sep. 30, 1918

Cardston, Alberta, Canada

James Cordon Casson Cahoon was born in Winter Quarters, Nebraska, to William Farrington Cahoon and Mary Wilson Dugdale. He had three siblings: Samuel Casson, Mary Ellen Casson, and George Edward Casson. He married Ellen Spencer Wilson on June 27, 1868, in Salt Lake City, Utah. They had six children:  Margaret Ellen, James C., Mary Miranda, Eva Edna, George Edward, and Ellen Elizabeth. Ellen died in 1880 in Manti, Utah. James then married Martha Hannah Braithwaite on May 12, 1881, in Salt Lake City, Utah. James became the step father to Robert Franklin Kenner, Martha’s son from her first marriage. They had nine children: Martha Amelia Casson, Lillian Casson, William Farrington Casson, Stephen Henry, Leslie Casson, Orah Casson, Leonard Casson, Della Casson, and Cordon Casson. In 1901, the Cahoon family left Manti, Utah and moved to Cardston, Alberta, Canada. Over the years, James worked as a carpenter/builder and a farmer. James died of heart problems in Cardston, Alberta and is buried in Manti, Utah, beside his first wife, Ellen.


Family links:


William Farrington Cahoon (1813 – 1883)

Mary Wilson DUGDALE Cahoon (1814 – 1882)



Martha Hannah Braithwaite Cahoon (1860 – 1944)

Ellen Spencer WILSON Cahoon (1847 – 1880)*



Margaret Ellen CAHOON Shomaker (1869 – 1949)*

James C. CAHOON (1871 – 1944)*

Mary Maranda CAHOON Hall (1872 – 1958)*

Eva Edna CAHOON (1874 – 1874)*

George Edward CAHOON (1877 – 1960)*

Ellen Elizabeth CAHOON (1880 – 1880)*

Martha Amelia Cahoon Nielsen (1882 – 1961)*

Lillian Casson CAHOON (1883 – 1883)*

William Farrington Casson CAHOON (1886 – 1939)*

Stephen Henry CAHOON (1888 – 1906)*

Leslie Casson CAHOON (1891 – 1974)*

Orah Casson CAHOON Martin (1894 – 1976)*

Leonard Casson CAHOON (1896 – 1952)*

Della Casson CAHOON Lenz (1899 – 1980)*

Cordon Casson CAHOON (1902 – 1978)*



Mary Annie CAHOON (1837 – 1838)**

Nancy Ermina CAHOON (1837 – 1838)**

Lerona Eliza Cahoon Durfee (1838 – 1919)**

John Farrington CAHOON (1840 – 1910)**

Prudence Sarah Ermina Cahoon Angell (1843 – 1871)**

Thirza Vilate Cahoon Angell (1845 – 1913)**

James Cordon Casson CAHOON (1847 – 1918)

William Marion CAHOON (1848 – 1931)**

Daniel Coyton CAHOON (1850 – 1851)**

Samuel Casson CAHOON (1851 – 1854)*

Mary Ellen Casson CAHOON (1853 – 1854)*

Joseph Mahonri CAHOON (1853 – 1932)**

George Edward Casson CAHOON (1857 – 1868)*

Henry Reynolds Cahoon (1857 – 1911)**

Stephen Tiffany CAHOON (1858 – 1886)**

Andrew Carlos CAHOON (1861 – 1862)**


*Calculated relationship




Manti Cemetery


Sanpete County

Utah, USA

Plot: Lot 19 Blk 6 Plat A Grv 5

James Cordon Casson Cahoon 1847-1918

James Cordon Casson CahoonJames Cordon Casson Cahoon was the son of William Farrington Cahoon and Mary Wilson Dugdale Casson, and was known as Cordon. There have been some questions regarding the spelling of the name “Cordon”. In his father’s journal the name is spelled “Coradon”, but he spelled the name “Condion” in his own record book. Church records show the name “Cordon” and that is the usual spelling among family members.

His mother’s name was Mary Wilson. She was the daughter of Elizabeth Wilson. Her mother married William Dugdale when Mary was just a year old. Mary married James Casson in Blackburn, Lancashire, England. They had two daughters, Sarah and Hannah, both of whom died when they were about a year old, Sarah dying in England and Hannah in Nauvoo, Illinois. Mary and James joined the LDS church in England, and immigrated to USA, James died in Nauvoo, but nothing is known of the cause of his death.

After the death of her husband, Mary married William Farrington Cahoon as his second wife. They were they parents of four children, James Cordon Casson Cahoon (md. 1. Ellen Spencer Wilson, 2. Martha Hannah Braithwaite), Samuel Casson Cahoon, Mary Ellen Casson Cahoon, and George Edward Casson Cahoon. Cordon was born 9 October 1347 at winter Quarter;,, Pottawatomie County, Iowa, while the family were inroute to Utah Winter Quarters, near what is now Omaha, Nebraska, and was a very important part of Church History. His father and his uncle Daniel and their families remained there until 1849. They arrived at Emigration Gap 23 Sept. 1949. His parents lived in Salt Lake for many years and died there as respected people. Cordon was brought up in Salt Lake City, where he learned the trade of carpenter.

He married Ellen Spencer Wilson June 27, 1868. She was the daughter of Thomas and Margaret (Lockwood) Wilson. In 1869 they moved to Manti, Utah where he followed his trade with success.

In 1890 he was engaged in the undertaking business, having a neat hearse and a general line of undertaking supplies. He served as City Sexton for six years. He owned a 25 acre farm south of Manti and a residence in Manti.

Ellen (Wilson) Cahoon died in Manti, June I3, 1880, having given birth to six children: Margaret Ellen (md. Leonard Adelbert Shomaker); James C. (md.Barbara Dietrich); Hary Miranda (md.Joseph Hall); and George Edward (md. Anna Louisa Alder); Eva and Ellen died as infants.

Cordon married May 12, 1831 Martha Hannah Braithwaite. She was the daughter of Robert Braithwaite and Harriet Amelia Bemus. She had married Robert Kenner who had deserted her about two months after their marriage. She had a young son, Frank Kenner. She was about thirteen years younger than Cordon.In 1901 Cordon and his family moved to Canada. They bought land in the Beazer district on Lee’s Creek that was homesteaded in 1898 by Joseph A. Young. The Cahoons lived there long enough to have the honor of creek crossing (between Leavvit and Beazer) named for them which is still known as “Cahoon Crossing”.

Cordon and his family moved to Cardston where he had a home on the south hill. This home was later bought and remodeled by Murvyn Quinton who is still living there (1993). His house had two rooms upstairs and two or three downstairs, and a lean-to built on the back. It was quite a nice home as houses were at the time. It was warm and comfortable, furnished adequately, with lots of crocheted doilies; chair back covers, etc., and always scrubbed clean — a nice homey place to go. Thelma Court, a granddaughter, in writing about them said ” It seems grandfather was too busy making a living to have much time to play with us, but we loved to visit him, and always like to go to his house to visit. The Christmas I was two or nearly three years old he built a cupboard for my play dishes. It was nice, and one of my favorite playthings. We three girls, Annie, Ellen and I all played with it. I brought it to Raymond when Geraldine was small and she played with it as long as anyone plays house. After she was married and had daughter, I repainted it from a dull grey color to a soft petal pink, and her girls have played with it since. I think the cupboard is my fondest memory.”

DeRaunz Cahoon wrote: I remember Grandmother Martha, when she lived with her son Leonard on the quarter just north of our farm in Leavvit. She was the only grandmother I knew as father’s mother died June 13, 1880, and grandmother Alder died Oct. 21, 1915 also in Manti, long before I made my first trip to Utah- I worked for Uncle Leonard for a dollar a day, one summer, getting up at 5:30, taking the cows from the school section on foot to his corral where we milked the, separated, fed the calves and pigs before breakfast, worked in the hay from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., then I would get the cows while Uncle Leonard took care of the horses. Often we would eat supper before milking then I would take the cows back to the pasture on my way home. I remember one evening I returned to their place at dusk frightened as some wild animals were making strange noises, I thought near my home. Grandmother convinced me that it was just some coyotes howling on the hill just south of home, and that I need not be afraid. I was brave enough to walk home, but was still afraid. The coyotes were waiting a chance to attack our sheep, Grandmother was kind to me, considerate and prepared good meals on time, kept her home clean, and was a good grandmother.

I remember grandfather Cahoon because he came to build the addition on our house, (the parlor, stairway and two upstairs bedrooms) before I started school. I remember I would climb the ladder to help him. He would give me a hammer and tell me to go over in the corner and pound nails in a block of wood. He was kind, protected me from falling, and would spent time with me after work, but I could never understand why he didn’t need my help.

After he finished the house he built us an outhouse. Ireta told me later that grandfather called this his masterpiece, as he didn’t think he would ever live to build another house. (Kitchener and Lervae are still trying to determine who is going to inherit it.) He used the best of materials; siding to match the house, lined inside, regular door and high window, and well painted. It was a three-holer with lids, and a step below the small hole.

Then to my delight he let me help build a birdhouse which was mounted on top. He would watch me as I climbed up to watch the bluebirds make their nests inside. That bird house was my pride for years, and I rescued it before Lervae got the out-house.

After grandfather’s funeral, when I was eight years old, I watched at the train station while they put the casket in a metalcovered box and soldered the lid on tight. Father then went with the body to Manti, Utah for burial. I worried how he would ever get out of that metal box at resurrection time.

I also remember visiting grandfather’s homestead on Lee Creek between Leavitt and Beazer. It was a large frame house with an upstairs, barns, and rows of trees for a windbreak. I was amazed at how Aunt Delia could pull fish out of the creek. I didn’t like to watch them die on the bank. Then she would take them to the house and cook them, carefully taking all the bones out before she would let me eat them. That was a beautiful spot under the hill, but when I returned a few years ago, there was nothing left there but the rows of trees.”

Mary Martin Coombs wrote,” I don’t remember my grandfather Cahoons as I was only a few months old when he died, so all I know about him was what mother and Reed Olsen has told me.

Mother said as a child she was quite sickly and she loved green onions. In the summer as the onions grew she would take a pair of scissors and cut off the green tops and pour vinegar water on them to eat. Mother told me she helped grandpa plant the two rows of elm trees that grow on the flat by the creek crossing, which today are very large. As a little girl I remember coming to Leavitt and crossing there with the team and wagon; for a while the shell of the house was still standing, the roof was most gone though.

Reed Olsen said Grandpa had a loud voice which you could hear a long ways. One day Uncle Cordon (a teenager) wouldn’t get up when he was called. Reed said they heard a splash and a yell. Grandpa had dumped him in the creek.

Grandfather took potatoes, carrots, onions, turnips and beets up to the miners in the pass with a team and wagon. He grew these vegetables on that flat by the house.

When Grandpa made coffins, mother said he lined them with velvet. He would give the scraps to her and a cousin to make doll clothes. She said the white velvet coat I had on as a baby was made out of one of the scraps”

Cordon Cahoon was a tall thin man with grey eyes, white hair and a beard. He was six feet tall and weighed 160 lbs. He had a big booming voice, and his family said that they didn’t need a telephone when they lived in Beazer. All he would need to do was stand on the hill and holler and they would get the message in Cardston. He had a good singing voice, and he also called the square dances at Beazer. He was good to grandmother, but he did embarrass her many times. One time he was singing on a program at one of their celebrations. He forgot the words to the song and grandmother prompted him. He looked at her and said, “Who is singing this song, woman, you or me?” then he went on to finish the song. In those early days, it was quite customary to call someone from the congregation to come up and speak in Sacrament Meeting. Grandfather had been dozing when he was called to come up and speak. My dad nudged him and told him he was supposed to say the closing prayer, which he promptly did.

It was a short Sacrament Meeting that day, Grandfather had a quick temper, and when he was angry he used language not found in the best dictionaries. My mother had been raised in a home where the word “darn” was almost considered a swear word. She said after she was married and was closely associated with grandpa she wondered what kind of family she had married into. However, as she learned to know him, she really learned to love and respect him.

Cordon and Martha Cahoon were the parents of nine children, all of whom were given the second name of “Casson” for his mother’s first husband. I told my mother that I now knew where the “Cussin’ Cahoons” came from. Their children were Martha Amelia (md. Francis Franklin Neilson); Lillian (died m infancy), William Farrington (md.Augusta Luyckfasseel); Stephen (died at age 18), Leslie Casson (md.Mary Leavitt); Orah Casson (md.Harold Lester Martin); Leonard Cassoon (md.Alice Haslam); Delia Casson (md.August Lenz); and Cordon Casson (md. Eva Workman).

Cordon died September 30, 1918 and his body was taken back to Manti for burial by his son George Edward. Mary Coombs said: “As a little girl I lived with my grandmother Cahoon quite a lot. When mother worked m the hospital to get her midwifery under Dr. Ellis Shipp, I rocked in grandma’s rocker many hours with my story books and dolls. Up on the south hill Grandma’s house had two rooms downstairs, two rooms upstairs with a lean-to porch on the north side. The east end of the porch was used for storage and was separated about half its length. There were doors on the north and a door from each room opening on the stair landing of the two rooms downstairs. I used to play with my dolls on the stairs. I was in grade one when I had chickenpox in Grandma’s east room where she lived in the winter. She always slept on a feather tick covered with a white wool blanket trimmed in pink and covered with another white wool blanket and feather tick in winter. In winter she wore a long flannel nightgown and knitted bed socks.

Grandma was a tall, thin lady and I can still see her in a navy blue coat and black hat when she went to town. She always wore an apron and when she went visiting it was white trimmed with embroidery and lace. She loved to knit, embroider, crochet and quilt. When she lived in the west side of town and they had quilting bees, they tried to get her and a Mrs. Leavitt together. Each one marked the quilt differently.

In her wood shed she always had grease for making soap. She grew a large garden every year. Bottled green beans in a salt brine, made pickled beets, mustard pickles, mustard bean pickles and green tomato mincemeat.

Grandma always had home-made ginger snaps. Sometimes when she made bread she would send me for some live yeast down at the neighbors. A cup slopped pretty bad for a little girl to carry, also I loved the taste of it, but I got back with about threefourths of a cup.

She taught me to knit,embroider and crochet. In the winter when she baked whole onions and squash I loved them very much and many meals I ate on the little drop-leaf table which I have today although it is, badly worn. I still have her pot cleaner and as a child loved to clean the kettles with it. “Land sakes” or “my stars” were the words she used when she was perplexed. I can never remember seeing her cross or angry.”

Martha Cahoon lived in Cardston many years after the death of her husband. She married Mr. French who had a wooden leg. She lived in a house in the west side of town, after his death. Her step-daughter, Mae Hall, lived not far away and checked on her almost every day to make sure she was all right. She spent the last few years of her life with her son, Leslie and his family at Leavitt. She died February 25, 1944, and is buried in Leavitt, Alberta cemetery.

Reynolds Cahoon (1790-1861) Additional Links

Reynolds Cahoon Diary

Book: Reynolds Cahoon and His Stalwart Sons

Papers of Reynolds Cahoon 1831-1865

Mormon Pioneer: Reynolds Cahoon


History of Reynolds Cahoon


reynolds_cahoonOn Wednesday, May 1, 1861, The Deseret News Weekly published the following announcement:

“Died – at 12 o’clock noon on Monday, April 29, 1861, of dropsy, at his residence in South Cottonwood Ward, Reynolds Cahoon … has fought the good fight. Has kept the faith, and died in the hope of a glorious resurrection.”

Who was this relatively obscure man whose life spanned nearly 70 years? Many times, inconspicuous in history’s on Mormonism, Reynolds Cahoon seemed to have been involved in the crucial developments of the Mormon Church. Reynolds served at least seven missions before 1834, having such companions as Samuel and Hyrum Smith, David Patton, Thomas B Marsh, David Whitmer and Orson Pratt. He was a builder and was on the committees for the Kirtland and Nauvoo temples, as well as in many other buildings the saints erected. He was a counselor to the bishop of Kirtland and later served in the presidencies of the Eartland, Adam-ondi-Ahman and Zarahemla Stakes. He was a charter member of the ill-fated Kirtland Safety Society, a captain of the Missouri “Danite” band, A member of “ the council of 50” and also belonged to Joseph Smith’s elite “Quorum of the Anointed.” He was notably involved in the events of the “final crossing” of Joseph Smith that, many believed, lead to Smith’s untimely death at Carthage, Illinois. He followed it Brigham Young west and continued involvement in the building projects, as well as serving As a counselor in the Stake High Priests quorum until his death. Two days, the biographies of more popular Mormons have overshadowed the names of the less known but equally significant at intrepid men and women.  The focus of this paper is to provide a glimpse of Reynolds Cahoon up through the Kirtland period.

As early as 1788, William and Mehitable Cahoon had it moved to Eastern New York and resided in the township of Cambridge, Washington County. This was the place of verse for all seven of their children.  Reynolds, the second child, was born on the 30th of April, 1790.

Twenty years later we find Reynolds Cahoon in Newport, Herkimer County, New York, west of his birthplace.  It was here that he married Thirza Stiles on the 11th day of December, 1810.

The following year, Reynolds Cahoon and his new bride left New York and moved to Hapersfield, Ashtabula County, Ohio. And by October 25th, 1811, they had purchased 50 acres of land for $300 and undoubtedly began the tiresome task of clearing.

The township of Harpersfield, in 1811, relatively primitive virgin soil and most of the homes in the area consisted of log cabins. It was most likely in one of these log cabins of five children.  William Farrington was the first born, next was Lerona Eliza, then Ptdaski Stephen, followed by Daniel Stiles, and last, while in Harpersfield, was Andrew.

In August 1812, Reynolds was called to serve in the war up 1812.  His service in the war was short lived in that he only serving 14 days before receiving and honorable discharge. Reynold’s son , William, later reminisced: “ my father…  was called by the government of the United States to go to Buffalo, New York to assist in driving the British from Buffalo, who had crossed Lake Erie from Canada and burn the city.  Upon arriving at Erie, they found that the British had crossed back over the lake and he was released and returned home again to work on his farm…”

By 1825, the Cahoon family moved to 30 miles farther west, near the town of Kirtland, where Reynolds commenced farming, and worked on the construction of a home for his family, as well as a home for his father, William, who had arrived in the area in 1822. It up here in-that Reynolds became an active at resident and, within two years of his arrival, he was listed as a trustee of Kirtland.

In the autumn of 1829, Reynolds moved his family into the town of Kirtland, and began the business of tanning leather, in connection with his boot and shoe making enterprise, which proved to be quite as successful, as was stated by his son William, “In this business he was much prospered and accumulated quite considerable property.”

On September 30, 1830, Reynolds and Thirza added a second daughter to their family, Julia Amina.

Earlier in that same month, in the township of Fayette, and new religious sect met in conference to transact business for a new Church. This organization, later to be known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormon Church, was less than six months old.  At this conference a revelation was given through the Prophet Joseph Smith to the “second elder,” Oliver Cowdery. Cowdery, probably Mormonism’s most eloquent speaker at the time, was instructed to “…take they journey among the Lamanites… declaring my gospel.” So he was to take with him Peter Whitmer Jr.  And in October, 2 more missionaries were added, Parley P Pratt and Ziba Peterson. It appears that these men did not leave New York until at least October 17, 1830.  After a short stop in Buffalo, the four missionaries continued their journey until their own rival in Ohio where they preached as they traveled through Ashtabula and other counties in northeastern Ohio.  The missionaries arrived in the Kirtland area “ about the last of October” or “the first of November.” In less than four weeks, the missionaries had converted approximately 130 persons, including Reynolds Cahoon and members of his family.

Speaking of his father’s conversion, William wrote: “During this time of great star was created about a ‘Golden Bible’ or Book of Mormon.  He soon became satisfied that the book was a divine origin, and that god had commenced this great and marvelous work as was spoken of by the inspired men of former days. He soon was baptized, October 12, 1830…  He was baptized by Parley P Pratt…” The baptismal date must be in error, since the missionaries had not left New York until after the recorded date that William provided.

This was the beginning of a long hard journey for Reynolds and his family. A journey that would bring much happiness, as well as hardships and trials.  With this religious inception, Reynolds devotion to the Mormon Church and its theology would be irreversible.

Reynolds, unlike most new male converts, was ordained to a priesthood office within six months of his baptism. In March 1831, Sidney Rigdon ordained of Reynolds and elder.  Then on June 3, the first day of a three-day priesthood conference held in Kirtland, Reynolds was ordained by Joseph Smith to the High Priesthood.  On the evening of June 6th, after the conference that adjourned, a revelation was given directing 14 pair of missionaries.  Reynolds Cahoon and Samuel Smith, Joseph Smith’s younger brother, were one pair that received instruction to take their “journey to the land of Missouri.”

The mission of traveling 1000 miles from Kirtland to Independence, Missouri was quite a task for Reynolds.  By this time, Reynolds was accustomed to missions, having preached in many of the towns around Kirtland, but this would be the most extended journey thus far. At the time of this mission to “Zion,” Samuel was 23 years of age and Reynolds was 41.  Reynolds left the house and his wife Thirza and their six children. Reynolds kept a journal of his early missions and tension and making entries until late 1832.  Reynolds and Samuel Smith departed shortly after the revelation was received, leaving Kirtland on June 9, 1831.  The trip was not easy for Reynolds and his young companion, and by July 14, they have run out of money as Reynolds recorded, “paid for our lodging, to the last money we had.” Reynolds continues, “We travelled on, not knowing what the day would bring forth… the people requested us to stop and preach… We found people very anxious to know the truths…  And we held many meetings on our westward journey.” During the rest of the trip they were “enduring much for the want of food and rest.” But they continued their journey across Illinois, and then traveled through misery, reaching a Lexington on the 4th of August. From there they traveled the last few miles into Independence.

Although they missed the dedication of the land of Zion of the temple site, which all current and prior to their arrival, Reynolds and describe his feelings as, “my mortal eyes beheld great and marvelous things such as I had never expected to see in this world…” The two men spent a number of days in Jackson County, “engaged in exploring that region of country,” then “the Lord commanded us to return home to our families.” After a memorable journey through Missouri they crossed Illinois and traveled through Indianapolis, walking much of the way on the “a national road” that was under construction.  While traveling on this road they found some of the workers willing to hold camp meetings where the missionaries could preach.

Reynolds must have been overjoyed to be back home after nearly four months of travelling.  But his joy it was curtailed with the news that his 11-month-old daughter, Julia Amina, had passed away four weeks earlier, on September 1.

Within two weeks of his return, Reynolds attended a conference in Hiram, Ohio, located approximately 30 miles south of Kirtland, At the John Johnson home.  While there, he was appointed to travel with David Whitmer and instruct the branches of the church on how to conduct meetings, as well as “obtain means” so that Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon could continue the new translation of the Bible.

On the November 9, 1831, Reynolds and David Whitmer set out on their appointed mission to obtain money and property to aloud Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon to finish the new translation of the bible.  They stopped again in Hiram to attend another set of conferences.

It appeared that the rest of November and most of December was spent in fulfilling missions by visiting the saints and obtaining what “means” they could. Reynolds was also involved in ordinations and other church business.

On the 1st of January, 1832 Reynolds was appointed to travel and answer charges leveled against the church by Ezra Booth, the first Mormon apostate.  On his return, Reynolds received a new companion, Orson Pratt. On this mission, Reynolds and Pratt were to visit the doubting members.  They visited the Saints in Painsville, Cardon, and Kirtland and found several members who had transgressed the laws of God and thus were excommunicated.

After Reynolds returned with Pratt, he was paired up with Thomas B Marsh to visit some of the branches west of Kirtland. Leaving on January 13, they visited the towns of Orange, Warrensville, Amherst, and others. In the meeting, Reynolds noted, that through the course of a meeting the branch “lifted their hands against some of their members.” Those members were visited and the next evening some of them were “cut off.”

On the 10th of February, Reynolds and Hiram Smith were set apart as counselors to the newly called bishop, Newel K Whitney. It was also decided at this meeting that several families should be “placed in a situation” so they might be able to sustain themselves as much as possible, and not be a burden to each other.  As a bishopric, they met often to discuss problems of the Saints and to consider how they should provide for the poor and needy.” And they also visited and “laid hands on the sick” at the council those who are in need of support.

During the spring of 1832, Reynolds and his family spent time plowing their land and planting corn. The remainder of 1832, Reynolds spent visiting branches of the church, and when appropriate, he gave saints “a recommendation to go to Zion.” He also was involved with Hiram Smith in managing accounts of stewardships according to the wants and needs of church members. Reynolds, as a member of the Kirtland bishopric, not only help in the management and distribution of goods, but also participated in the stewardship program.

In November 1832, Reynolds left Kirtland to serve in the eastern states on a mission with David Patton, and for a period of time, his son William travel with them, “preaching and baptizing in several places.” It was while on this mission that Reynolds was involved in the conversion of a family that would become very close friends to the Cahoon’s. While preaching near Orleans, New York, the missionaries converted the Alpheus Cutler family. Reynolds returned home in February, 1833 only to leave a short time later to travel east with David Patten.

In early May 1833, at a conference of High Priests, it was voted by the voice of the conference that Reynolds, Hiram Smith and Jared Carter should be appointed as a committee to obtain that means whereby buildings for the First Presidency, a school house, and a “house for printing” could be built.  Reynolds would later receive an inheritance or property adjacent to the temple lot as a result of his work on the committee. But within a month the committee’s building responsibilities or expanded to include a house of God. Of this committee, Heber C. Kimball observed, “these menus every exertion in their power to forward the work.”

Early in the month of June, Reynolds, Joseph and Hiram Smith, Brigham and Lorenzo Young left town in search of a quarry where stones could be found to be used on the temple walls. They were able to locate a suitable quarry about 2 miles south of the temple site where they loaded a wagon and returned to the temple lot.” The offense was taken down and Hiram Smith took a scythe and cut down the standing wheat, after which he and Reynolds began digging, by hand, a trench for the temple.  Six weeks later, on July 23, Reynolds met at the temple site and with 23 other priesthood holders, divided up in groups of six, each group layed one of the cornerstones.

During the winter of 1833-34, Reynolds and his family were not only busy with work on the temple, but they were also trying to build a new home for themselves, perhaps to create a larger living space for a growing family, as Thirza was pregnant again.  Not only did Reynolds children help with the construction of a new home, but Reynolds offered much needed work to a very poor and destitute Brigham Young that had just arrived in Kirtland. Young leader related that he was so impoverished that he had to borrow some boots and pants, have had no winter clothing except a three or four year old home coat.  Brigham Young related what it was like working for Reynolds:

I had worked through the winter was not the least prospect of getting 25 cents for my winters work.  I told brother [Reynolds] Cahoon I would work whether I could get anything for it or not…  I gained Brother Cahoon’s heart to the degree that if he received anything He always came to me, and said, ‘Brother Brigham, I have so and so, and I will divide it with you.’ Brother William F Cahoon and I kept working at the house until his father got into it.  When he had finished the house, he had paid me all that was coming to me.”

In May of 1834, Reynolds and Thirza watched as the oldest son, William, joined a Mormon army. This army had been commanded by revelation to help the members of the church in Missouri, who had over the past 10 months, been driven from their homes in Jackson County by non-Mormons of the area.

While her son William was in Missouri, Thirza gave birth to her seventh child, another boy, born on July 26, 1834. Shortly after this child was born, Reynolds saw Joseph Smith passed by their home and invited him in.  He asked the prophet to bless and name his new son. Joseph complied and gave the instant the name of Mahonri Moriancumer.  After the blessing, Joseph delay the baby on the bed, and turning to Reynolds he stated, “That name I have given your son is the name of the Brother of Jared; the lord has just shown (revealed) it to me.”

Life was a mixed blessing for the Cahoon family while living in Kirtland.  Once the temple construction had commenced, Reynolds spent most of his time in directing the finances along with the rest of the committee. Thirza did her share of personal sacrifice by taking in temple workers as boarders. One such a boarder described his experience while living with the Cahoons by stating, “It was a fine family and enjoyed myself in their society.”

Like most parents, Reynolds and Thirza have their problems raising children, and teaching them was a struggle for Reynolds and Thirza throughout their lives. The year of 1835 must have been particularly difficult for them as parents, four on August 10, the Kirtland High Council was called together to hear a complaint from Joseph Smith against Reynolds.  That charge as stated that Reynolds had “failed to do his duty in correcting his children, and instructing them in the way of truth and righteousness…” The Council agreed with Joseph Smith and approved the decision to have Reynolds make a public acknowledgment before the Church. Reynolds confessed his error and promised to make a confession to the church.

Apparently this did not resolve the problems that Reynolds and Thirza were having, because in less than three months, on November 1, of revelation was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith that stated, “Verily thus saith the Lord unto me, His servant, Joseph Smith, Jun. – Mine anger is kindled against my servant Reynolds Cahoon, because of his iniquities, his covetous and dishonest principles in himself and family, and he doth not purge them away and set his house in order.  Therefore, if he repent not, chastisement awaiteth him, even as it seemeth good in my sight, therefore goal and declare unto him these words.” The Prophet went “immediately” to Reynolds to deliver the revelation.  Reynolds acknowledged that what the lord hath spoken was true, and according to Joseph Smith he “expressed much humility.”

As a result of Reynolds labor and devotions to building the temple, he, along with others, received a “ blessing.” But working on that building committee was not a simple task.  Reynolds and the other committee members were in constant turmoil over providing for the needs of all those involved in the temple construction, as well as Saints a king and the items from the Kirtland store.

Reynolds continued to supervise the collection and distribution of contributions for the temple construction. Whenever conferences were held, the saints in the different branches were asked to assist in building the House of the Lord and missionaries were sent on missions to help raise money.  But, in spite of all the fundraising, during the three years that it took to build the Temple, the church was in class and financial distress.  Finally, the sacrifice paid off and the Kirtland temple was ready to be dedicated. It has been estimated that the temple caused the saints from $40,000 to $60,000 to build.

With the opening of the year 1836, of the Kirtland temple and the “endowment of power” promised them from on high.

The dedication of the temple was set for Sunday, the 27th of March. More than 1000 saints met at the temple for the dedicatory services, and because of space limitations, almost half of them had to be turned away. Reynolds was present and seated on the stand for this momentous occasion.

Before long, and the environment around Kirtland with began to sour.  The financial problems of the saints increased, especially after the temple was dedicated. Did the nation’s dropped off dramatically after the dedication, and at a time when the debts of the church continued to increase. Realizing the church had a cash-flow problem, the leaders decided to open a bank and thereby converting into cash some of the assets that the church and its members had acquired. In November, 1836, church leaders drew up articles for a bank, but much to their dismay, the charter was refused. Consequently, they organized a private joint-stock company of which they named, the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company. On January 2, 1837, Reynolds signed as a witness to adopt the articles of agreement for the Kirtland Safety Society and the company opened its doors for business. Reynolds was not only a charter member of the company, but he was a major stockholder. Within three weeks the Kirtland Safety Society began to have serious problems, it was announced that the company would no longer redeem its notes with specie. Within six months, Joseph Smith resigned as an officer, and in less than a year from its inception, the company closed its doors. There were many reasons for the failure of the company.  It devastated many of the Saints, including the Cahoon families.

It was during this period of economic distress that many members of this infant church apostatized. As a result of extreme financial difficulties the Kirtland bishopric, which at this time included Reynolds, Newel K Whitney and Vinson Knight, sent out a plea for this saints to pay their tithes. Along with these economic problems, some of the leaders were all closed to what they felt was an increasing concentration of authority at the top. In 1837-38, twenty-eight suits were brought against leaders of the church, including Reynolds. As the dissension and violence increased so did the pressure for the Cahoons to leave Kirtland.

During the winter of 1837-8, Reynolds received a new calling as a member of the Stake Presidency of Kirtland.  He served with William Marks and John Smith. This experience may have helped prepare Reynolds, for later he would be called to serve and two other Stake Presidencies.

By spring of 1838, any protection from local government officials had almost disappeared, when most faithful latter-day saints, including Reynolds, were removed from office. It was at this time that Reynolds and his family decided they could no longer stay in Kirtland. Tensions had increased between the faithful saints and those that had dissented.  Internal strife and persecution from non-Mormons forced the Cahoon’s to leave Ohio and travel to Missouri. They must have also had a very difficult time leaving the temple that had been the focus of the entire Cahoon family for the previous five years. The families packed up all their earthly belongings and left their comfortable homes behind.  William tells of the Cahoon departure:

In the spring of 1838, I with my family and my father, Reynolds and his family went from Kirtland to Missouri… I left behind me add good lot all paid for, for which I labored very hard to get, also a good seven-room house well-furnished and owned by myself… I could not dispose of it, so I turned the key and locked the door and left it, and from that day to this, I have not received anything for my property which is in the hands of strangers. However, we left it and went on our journey, pitching tents for a house.

Although the Cahoons may have thought that leaving Kirtland was the end of an era of sacrifice and spiritual feasting, they soon found out that their stay in Kirtland was just the appetizer.


In the spring of 1838 Reynolds his wife and family travel to Missouri, leaving behind their property and all they possessed in the hands of enemies and strangers.

Joseph Smith writes:

“Monday, June 7, 1838.  I visited with Elders Reynolds Cahoon and Parley P Pratt who had this day arrived in Far West, the former from Kirtland and the latter from New York where he had been preaching for some time and our hearts were made glad with the pleasing intelligences of the gathering of the Saints from all parts of the earth.

Tuesday 8th – I spent day with Elder Rigdon in visiting Elder Cahoon at the place he had selected for his residence and in attending to some of our private, personal affairs.

June 28th – At conference of Elders and members of the Church was held in this place today for the purpose of organizing this Stake, called Adam-ondi-Ahman.”

At this conference… “It was then moved, seconded and carried By the unanimous voice of the assembly, that John Smith should act as President of the Stake, Reynolds Cahoon was unanimously chosen first counselor and Lyman Wight, second counselor…  President john Smith, Reynolds Cahoon, and Lyman Wight then made some remarks…  After singing the well-known hymn ‘Adam-ondi-Ahman’ the meeting closed by prayer by President Cahoon.

Adam-ondi-Ahman is located immediately on the north side of Grand River, Davies County Missouri, and about twenty-five miles north of Far West and about eighty miles north of Indepenence.  It is an elevated spot of ground which makes the place as healthful as any part of the United States.  Overlooking the river and country roundabout, it is certainly a beautiful location. It is here the Mormons gathered by the hundreds; it sprung up overnight. Originally, it was called Spring Hill but Joseph named it Adam-ondi-Ahman as instructed by the Lord. “Because” he said, “It is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people for the Ancient of Days shall set, as spoken of by Daniel, the prophet.”

This town that was in making rapid progress when the Saints saw forming again, those elements which is threatened their peace. It is small wonder that righteous anger flushed their cheeks and alleged then instinctively to form the resolution, “that they would submit no more to such acts of despoliation, injustice and outrage.”

It was this sense of outraged injustice and inhumanity which led to the deliverance of the noted oration by Sidney Rigdon at Far West on Wednesday, July 4, 1838 in the course of which, there was expressed as strong determination to know more submit quietly to mob violence at acts of pillage.


A procession which comprised the infantry (militia), the Patriarchs, the President, Vice-President, Orator, Twelve Apostles , other officers and LDS members commenced their march at 10 o’clock a.m. They formed a circle around and the excavation and this day, July 4, 1838, the site for the temple at Far West was dedicated.

Thus, the Saints spent the day celebrating the Declaration of Independence.  Joseph Smith was president of the day, Hiram Smith, vice-president, and Reynolds Cahoon, acted as Chief Marshal.

The oration given by Sidney Rigdon proved to be very damaging and a potent factor against the Saints in the subsequent movements of their enemies.

In August 1838, which finally resulted in the exile of the Mormons from the state of Missouri. Their enemies of August 6, organized with a determination to prevent the Mormons from voting – the most sacred rite of American citizenship. The Mormons fought with desperate courage and not at last, overpowered my numbers, they withdrew to their homes.

Some of the leading citizens called upon the prophets and together they agreed to hold a conference at Adam-ondi-Ahman on August 9th. Both parties met in friendly counsel and entered into a covenant of peace to preserve each other’s rights and to stand in each others defense. For the saints, such men as Lyman Wight, Reynolds Cahoon, and others gave their pledge. The settlers were well represented and made their solemn promise.

In spite of the “pledge of peace,” Governor Boggs issued an “Order of Extermination” of the Mormons and an armed mob came upon them which resulted in that terrible massacre of Haun’s Mill. Without any notice of this order to the Mormons, this mob tore down and destroyed their homes, shot their animals, and killed their men, women and children.

At Haun’s Mill many were massacred.  At Far West and other settlements they were forced to move out on the snow-covered prairies. They appealed to the Missouri legislature for protection, but there was a few towns gesture. Their unexpected haste in leaving, the lack of preparation and the inclement weather soon resulted in widespread suffering with epidemics and a considerable loss of life.  Property valued at two million dollars was destroyed or confiscated. This was the beginning of the story of the trek of our ancestors, the Mormon pioneers.

Reynolds Cahoon and his son of William F tell us of the inhumanity to them and the outrages that “shock all nature and defy all description.” Realizing that it is contrary to the gospel for man to take vengeance into his own hands, they resigned themselves to whatever should follow, and it was not until a more positive and official testimony was wanted by the authorities at Washington, that their leader, Joseph Smith advised the saints to defend themselves by ” gathering together and knowledge of all the facts, sufferings and abuses put upon them by the people of Missouri” and submit them to the highest tribunal.

The falsehoods promulgated against the Saints had blinded many honest men and women have for their sakes, the truth should be made known and then people of Missouri will someday be glad to make whenever amends they can for the wrongs suffered in that state, not because anybody will endeavor to compel them to do so, but because they will this team get a privilege to obliterate these mistakes of the past. Then the facts will be considered important and it should be on the record.  William F Cahoon made an affidavit of the “Missouri Wrongs.”

As the Mormons moved out of Missouri, those of the Mormon leaders who had escaped imprisonment or death struck if a course back across the state of Illinois.  Welcome word came that food, clothing, friendship and shelter awaited the refugees at Quincy. The Cahoon families were among those who found refuge there.


Fifty miles up the Mississippi River from Quincy, Illinois and a beautiful, green rolling ridge overlooked the mile-wide Father of Waters. At the foot of the ridge lay a low, level swamp land. This boggy, black-soiled peninsula pushed westward two miles into the path of the oncoming river. This forced the Mississippi to make along, lazy hairpin detour thereby surrounding the peninsula on three sides with its swirling, silt-laden waters. The Mormons learned that this swamp land was for sale and the terms were good. Obviously, it was not a likely site on which to build a city but because of the people’s poverty there was scarcely no alternative. Joseph Smith arrived from Missouri after six months of abuse as a political prisoner. He looked over the marshland and decided that “with a little hard work” they would make it both healthful and habitable. They gave it the name of Nauvoo, the Hebrew term meaning “Beautiful Place.”

Here at Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, our Mormon Pioneers settled and out of this swamp in that horseshoe bend of the Mississippi sprang up the largest city in the state of Illinois. In five years its population was 20,000 and more settlers arriving every day.

On January 19, 1841, came a command from the Lord “… I command you, all My Saints, to build a house unto Me… For a baptismal font there is not on the earth, that they, My Saints, may be baptized for those who are dead – for this ordinance belongeth to My house, and cannot be acceptable to Me, only days of your poverty wherein ye are not able to build the house unto Me.”

Reynolds Cahoon, who had been off a shaving as a counselor over the Branch in Iowa, was called to Nauvoo in October 1840 two assists in the superintendency of building a second great “House of the Lord.” Less than four months after the revelation was received, the cornerstones were named for the temple (April 6, 1841).

As may be supposed, the efforts in executing the great task placed upon the building committee did not always meet with the individual likes and dislikes of the people of Nauvoo. The burden was heavy and the difficulties, many. We find complaints at times, such as “Pulaski Cahoon was never appointed boss over the stone cutters shop… not all the sons of Reynolds Cahoon have paid their tithing… William F Cahoon has paid all his tithing, but some of the others have not…” etc.

The people were poor, but they labored diligently. That they were diligent in their efforts, is amply attested by history which tells us that this structure cost more than one million dollars. The Saints were poor and much of the time during its course of construction, they were harassed by their enemies. On many occasions, the members of the committee were called from their labors to the defense of their Prophet and at times they traveled day and night protecting themselves from the mobs. Quoting from the words of President Brigham Young: “This edifice was raised by the aid of a sword in one hand, trowel and hammer in the other, firearms at hand, a strong band of police, and the blessings of heaven.”

The Latter-day Saints were a happy people and welcomed their days of rejoicing together. They were loves of music. In 1841 the Nauvoo Brass Band was organized and several of Reynolds’ sons were members of that band.

The Prophet Joseph Smith had written many letters and petitions to the authorities of the United States relating to the sufferings of the people in Missouri, telling them that many had lost their lives and many had been robbed of an immense amount of property, and that in vain they had sought redress by all constitutional, legal and honorable means.

At a meeting of the citizens of Nauvoo, December 7, 1843, WW Phelps, Reynolds Cahoon and Hosea Stout were appointed to draft the preamble and resolutions. These resolutions were to be directed to the Governor of Missouri and to various authorities of the states of the United States, reciting the persecutions of the people of Nauvoo relative to the demanding of the body of Joseph Smith, as well as the common, cruel practice of kidnapping citizens of Illinois and forcing them across the Mississippi River and incarcerating them in dungeons or prisons in Missouri.

In her book “Reynolds Cahoon and His Stalwart Sons,” Stella Shurleff gives a detailed account of the last few days of the life of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and of Reynolds involvement with the Smith family. In one of the last entries written by Joseph Smith in his own journal, dated June 22, 1844 …  About 7:00 PM I requested Reynolds Cahoon and Alpheus Cutler to stand guard at the Mansion, and not admit any stranger inside the house. I asked O. P. Rockwell if he would go with me a short journey and he replied he would …

… About 9:00 PM Hyrum came out of the Mansion House and gave his hand to Reynolds Cahoon saying, “A company of men are seeking to kill my Brother Joseph and the Lord has warned him to flee to the Rocky Mountains to save his life.  Goodbye, Brother Cahoon, we shall see you again.” In a few minutes Joseph came from his family, his tears were flowing fast.  He held his handkerchief to his face and followed his brother Hyrum without uttering a word.

  1. P. Rockwell rowed the skiff which was so leaky then a cat Joseph, Hyrum and Doctor Richards busy bailing out the water with their boots and shoes to prevent it from sinking. Sunday the 23rd, they arrived on the Iowa side of the river. They sent Rockwell to Nauvoo with instructions to return the next night with horses for Joseph and Hyrum and pass them over the river and they would be ready to start for the Great Basin in the Rocky Mountains.

About 9:00, Brother Bernheisel crossed over the river and Reynolds Cahoon also went to visit Joseph to explain to him as requested, regarding the governor’s a letter.  A posse had arrived in Nauvoo to arrest Joseph, but as they did not find him, they started back. In a letter written by Joseph to Emma Smith, his wife, he calls the place “Safety.”

At 1:00 PM Emma sent Rockwell to Joseph, requesting him to entreat Joseph to come back. Reynolds Cahoon accompanied him with a letter which Emma insisted that Joseph should come back. She also insisted that Reynolds Cahoon use every persuasion with Joseph to come back and give himself up. L. D. Wassan and Hyrum Kimball they were like wise persuaded by Emma to induce Joseph and Hyrum to start back to Nauvoo. These men went to Joseph as true friends to explain to him the Governor’s letter and to deliver the message to him from his wife, Emma. Reynolds Cahoon informed Joseph what the troops intended to do and urged him to give himself up in-as-much as the Governor had pledged his faith and the faith of the State to protect him while he underwent our legal and a fair trial. After much persuasion, Joseph decided to return to another, saying – “If my life is of no value to my friends it is of none to myself”… And after studying a few moments Joseph said to Hyrum, “If you go back I will go with you, but we shall be butchered”… then after a short pause, Joseph told Cahoon to request Captain Davis to have his boat ready at half-past five to cross them over the river.

We must conclude that Reynolds Cahoon was in Carthage when Joseph and Hyrum as the record states: “Joseph instructed Cahoon to return to Nauvoo with all haste and fetch a number of documents for the promised trial” and to further substantiate this fact, we are told that “Elder Cahoon returned (to Nauvoo) from Carthage for some papers. It appears that Reynolds did not go back to Carthage again this time; he sent these papers out by O. P. Rockwell. Just three months after the death of Joseph and Hyrum, Reynolds and several other Latter-day Saint men were “illegally arrested for treason” and forced to go to trial at Carthage.  Since the court was not ready for trial, the company proceeded to the jail where Joseph and Hyrum were martyred.

Reynolds returned to the Court House where, with Daniel Spencer, Orson Spencer, brothers Richards, Taylor, Phelps, Rich, Cutler, Scott, Hunter and Clayton, they were put under arrest and taken to Justice Barnes’ office. Here they were put under examination and asked if they wanted witnesses subpoenaed.  The reply, “No.”

DeBackman, the person who made the affidavit on which the writ was issued, made his appearance. Upon being sworn and asked if he personally knew the defendants or any of them, he answered that he did not and stated that he made the affidavit upon the strength of the rumors which he heard at the time and because of his great prejudice against the Mormons. He believed these reports and if think that the Mormon leaders were guilty of treason.

The examination was held before Justice Barnes, assists by Justice Bedell.  The court, according to law, dismissed the case and at 3:00 PM Reynolds and his friends started on their return home from Carthage.

At Malcomb, the people were under considerable excitement.  No friendly hand was offered them; only threats were used against them in the most lawless manner.  Reynolds tells the following:

“We found it altogether imprudent to let ourselves be seen, in the hospital threatened us saying, if they would ‘butt us out of town.’ After dinner we returned to a private room upstairs where we witnessed the increased state of excitement. We were waited on by a committee sent to confer with us and this committee expressed an unqualified terms of their entire disapprobation of the annoyance and pledged themselves to see us protected … their pledge was met and we arrived home safely.”


Obedient to the commandment, the Temple was completed.  It was dedicated quietly on April 30, 1846 by Joseph Young, brother of Brigham Young, and publicly on May 1, 1846 by Orson Hyde. Their zeal and sacrifices had not gone unrewarded, for from the date of December 10, 1845, when the Temple was closed for ordinance work, more than 5500 endowments had been given in the Nauvoo Temple. On December 10 and 11, 1845, Thirza and Reynolds Cahoon received their endowments. Reynolds and Thirza were sealed in “Celestial Marriage” in the Nauvoo Temple at 7:10 pm January 16, 1846 by President Brigham Young.

Reynolds Cahoon was one of the twenty Elders who went with President Brigham Young to the attic of the Temple in Nauvoo early that Sunday morning of November 30, 1845 and prayed that the Lord would hear their prayers and deliver them from their enemies until they had accomplished His Will in His House. They asked for blessings on their families and that the Lord would lead them to a land of peace.

Brigham Young ordered the evacuation of Nauvoo and the month of February, 1846 found the Mormons in full flight across the frozen crust of the Mississippi River headed toward the unknown west and the setting sun. Although the flight from Nauvoo was a retreat in disorder, Brigham Young rallied the pioneers at Sugar Creek, 7 miles west of the Mississippi River.  It was here on February 5, that Brigham organize them into “the Camps of Israel,” in captains of tens, fifties and hundreds.


On March 9, 1846, the Cahoon family left their beautiful city.  Reynolds and Brother Cutler were given instructions to “roll out their companies as quick as possible.” During the journey on March 14, Reynolds was thrown from his wagon, dislocating his shoulder.  William F and Daniel S Cahoon, sons of Reynolds, left with their wives and families.  They were members of the Nauvoo Brass band and traveled with the band, playing and numerous concerts throughout the various settlements of the Middle West to earn funds to help the migration.


On May 8, the Cahoon family arrived at Garden Grove, where they met their son, and brother, Andrew. He had been carrying mail for the pioneers between Nauvoo and Garden Grove. The ferryboat was completed June 29 and the next day Brigham Young and others of the advancing party crossed the Missouri River. July 6, the Camps of A Cutler and Reynolds Cahoon were about 3 miles from mount Pisgah and not until about three weeks later do we find them, “On the flats wanting to cross the Missouri; several are sickly. The hill on the west side of the river being very abrupt and steep, it required a doubling of teams and every man is requested to turn out with teams and help these people.

Bridges have been washed out, they have encountered great rains, and the progress very much retarded. It required the entire spring, summer and fall of 1846 for the main camps to cross Iowa and reached the river.  Brigham Young concluded they must make a temporary haven.  It was in September that the site was selected on the west side of the river and named Winter Quarters.

In December, Winter Quarters consisted of 3483 people living in 548 log houses, 83 sod houses or dugouts. On June 1, 1953, 106 years after the arrival of the pioneers at Winter Quarters an important ceremony marked the dedication of a bridge, honoring these brave Mormon Pioneers – a majestic bridge spanning the Missouri river at Omaha at almost the exact location of the Old Ferry Crossing.  The North Omaha Bridge Commission name of this branch, the Mormon Pioneer Memorial Bridge. Dr Karren, chairman of the commission wrote: ‘The commission and the people of Omaha feel they have been greatly honored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints faith and giving approval to the name.”

Reynolds proved himself to be not only a great architect and builder but also indeed, a shrewd business man capable of engineering many complex problems. This is evidenced by the numerous financial difficulties he assisted in solving for his church and people. For instance, in the year 1846, it is recorded that he was “appointed to borrow money from certain individuals which is necessary to be pain on corn contracts. He is instructed to build a bridge, the contract to be paid in corn,” and again, “the Council in December voted that he be placed on a committee of three to build a House for the Omaha’s.”

January 25, 1847, Brigham Young organized his company. I. Morley was nominated president with Reynolds Cahoon and John Young as counselors, each as Captains of 100.  Winter Quarters was to be stockade, guards to be kept and the women, whose husbands were in the army, were not to be emigrated until after the pioneers.

May 19, 1848 was probably the happiest day in many, many long months for the family of Reynolds Cahoon, for on this day, into their camp at Winter Quarters their son Andrew arrived from a foreign mission and it lets him were the saints from Scotland, about 120 new Mormon emigrants. It was in Scotland that Andrew met the Carruth family where he and Mary Carruth were married.  Margaret and Janet were sisters of Mary, and on the advice of Brigham Young, Andrew was married to Margaret and Janet Carruth on the evening of July 17, 1848 by Brigham Young. The history of the Cahoon and Carruth families from this time until they arrive in the valley of Salt Lake his without particular event. Reynolds is speaker at the meeting July 21.  Many times they have difficulty with their cattle, mixing in various herds; many times their wagons are held fast in the rugged mountain passes.  At such times, “the boys put their shoulders to the wheels and helped each other out” … August 3, Captain Cahoon crossed the ravine up the Platte Valley. August 8th, Cahoon’s company ascended the hill and journeyed through the valley of the Sweetwater.

August 8, Cahoon’s company ascended the hill and journeyed toward Mineral Springs.  August 9 a very cold morning, Captain Cahoon gathered his cattle and resumed the journey through the long valley of the Sweetwater. September 12 President Young is about 2 miles in advance and President Kimball is at Fort Bridger.

They continue to journey through the long vale, over hard roads and through barren sagebrush.  September 13, Morley’s camp started first… Cahoon’s next; they crossed the Muddy Fork.  The mountains in the distance are covered with snow.

Margaret Carruth Cahoon says, “We arrived in Salt Lake Valley in the evening of September 23, 1848, which was about one year later than the first pioneers of July 24, 1847.” The families of William F and Daniel S Cahoon did not arrive in Salt Lake Valley until September 24, 1849.


The following stories pertain to certain activities and the life of Reynolds from the time he entered Salt Lake Valley until his death in 1861.  He continued to occupy many important positions in his Church and country; ever loyal to his convictions of the truthfulness of the Gospel principles of the Latter-day Saints Church.  He was affectionately called “Father Cahoon” and truly loved by all who knew him. He mingled with his people in all their political, religious and social affairs. In their festivities, he was honored on all occasions. He occupied the position of Counselor of the High Priest Quorum until his death. He gave counsel, instructed, led and guided his family, friends and loved ones, whenever the occasion presented itself.

The particular events of the next few months are firefly related – Reynolds taking a leading discussion in many problems such as keeping canyons and roads in repair, managing the Church Farm, acting as judge or counter of game for the extermination of ravens, hawks, wolves, foxes, etc. He is also appointed on the committee to erect a building for an “armory.” He is speaker at the general conference and at each conference is sustained as First Council to the High Priest Quorum.

On April 6 in the year 1851 at the general conference, the motion was read and carried by acclamation. “A motion to build at a Temple to the Name of the Lord Our God, in Salt Lake City, Utah.”

No definite information is given us as to the exact part Reynolds took in a building of the Salt Lake Temple. We know that he did the labor many years here; that he was present at the conference is discussing plans for its erection and with the same energetic he manifested in the infant days of the Church when he was one of the committee for the construction of the former Temples, he now appealed to the saints in Salt Lake to assist in building this temple.  He delivered them any Sermons and the Tabernacle when the Utah Legislature met December 12, 1853, the House of Representatives appointed him Sergeant-at-Arms.

Reynolds Cahoon was the first and only private owner of the lots were the Great Salt Lake Theatre was built. The location was the corner of First South and State Street, comprising a large portion of that block. One day Brigham Young came to Reynolds and said, “Brother Cahoon we need your lots, we must build a theatre.”

No doubt there were mingled thoughts in the minds of Reynolds and Thirza.  These lots were probably the only property they now owned. They were very valuable lots in the heart of Salt Lake City. Reynolds and Thirza had given everything from worldly value they had ever possessed to their Church. They had dedicated every moment of their lives for the Gospel’s sake.  When they left their beautiful cities of Kirtland and Nauvoo, their homes and property were left behind and many times they have said. “We have given all to God.”

Now they aged and could no longer do hard, laborious work for their own maintenance more for their Church. No, there were many things Thirza and Reynolds could not do to help build a city of Zion in the Desert, but they do to own this fine property just where this majestic “Play House” it could be erected, where drama of such magnitude as had never yet been dreamed of, would respond to spiritual tutorship under inspired leaders.

“Yes,” they are reasoned, “these lots can perform a mission for us, and ‘Give or Sell’ our Church shall have them. So on April 23, 1860, history tells us Reynolds Cahoon that conveyed his property to Brigham Young for the purpose of erecting the Salt Lake Theatre.

When we ponder on the value of this piece of property today, we may well remark,” sold or gave.” Let us relate the incident as grandmother Margaret Cahoon, one of Andrew’s lovely wives, has written it:

“During the year 1860-61, Andrew’s father, Reynolds sold his lots to President Young to build a theatre on. For his payment he received a number of oxen, wagon, cows and merchandise, etc. He also had a debt paid he owed in the tithing office which was several hundred dollars. He was well satisfied with the pay as he thought he got a big price for it.”

After the sale of the property, Reynolds and Thirza move to South Cottonwood (now Murray), Salt Lake Country, Utah. Here they I lived with their son, Andrew, who provided and cared for them until the time of their death. They both died at South Cottonwood, Reynolds dying April 29, 1861, and Thirza November 20, 1866.

At this date (September 1993) we would estimate that they have more than 20,000 descendants, who honor and respect them for their courage during perilous times, their faith and loyalty to their Church and to their God, for the sacrifices they made it so unselfishly, for the love they had for family and friends.  What a wonderful heritage they have left us!

NOTE: This history was written by Doug Cahoon and can be found in the book Reynolds Cahoon: Roots and Branches.

Biography of Reynolds Cahoon 1790-1861

Reynolds Cahoon was a sixth generation American. The known ancestors of Reynolds are as follows: Reynolds, son of William Jr., son of William, son of Ebenezer, son of joseph, son of William Cahoon. This information is taken from the records kept by Daniel Farrington Cahoon, son of Andrew, son of Reynolds.

Reynolds Cahoon was the son of William Cahoon Jr. and Mehitable Hodge. William Jr. was son of William, whose forefathers came to America from Scotland and settled in Rhode Island and from thence scattered abroad in different parts of the land. Reynolds was born 30 April 1790 at Cambridge, Washington County, New York.

He married 11 December 1810 in New Port, New York, to Thirza Stiles, daughter of Daniel Olds Stiles, son of John Stiles. They were married by the Honorable John Stiles. Reynolds moved to Harpersfield, Ohio, then a new county, and began farming in the year 1811. In the winter of 1812, Reynolds was called up to serve in the army during the war of 1812, but was never to see any action.

Reynolds lived in Harpersfield about 12 years. Five children were born at this place. In 1825 he moved about thirty miles further west near the town of Kirtland and went into the business of tanning leather and making shoes.

Reynolds was a soldier in the war of 1812. His first known American ancestor, William Cahoon of Block Island, Rhode Island, gave his life in 1675 defending the Massachusetts Colonies in the Cruel King Philip’s War. William Cahoon Jr., father of Reynolds, served in the American Revolution under Captain Slocum in the regiment of Col. Asa Barnes. He enlisted 11 October 1781 at Williamstown, Berkshire County, Massachusetts and marched to Saratoga “by order of General Stark, on alarm.”

He was baptized 12 October 1830 and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just six months after the organization of the Mormon Church. From that day on his life and the history of that church are inseparable. He was baptized by Parley P Pratt. He was ordained an elder by Sidney Rigdon and went on a mission. He was ordained a high priest by Lyman Wight. His missionary companion was Samuel Smith, Joseph’s brother.

Elder Reynolds Cahoon was ordained a High Priest 13 June 1831, at the fourth General Conference held at Kirtland, Ohio. Reynolds writes in his private journal:

“Several were selected by revelation through President Smith and ordained to the High Priesthood after the Order of God, which is after the Order of Melchizedek, this was the first occasion in which the priesthood had been revealed and conferred upon Elders in this dispensation. Except as being held by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, although the office is the same in a certain degree, but not in the fullness. On this occasion I was ordained to His Holy Ordinance and called by President Smith.”

He used most of his property to finance preaching and to assist others in building and establishing the work of God. He was ordained to go and preach the Gospel to the world and in company with Samuel H Smith and twenty-four elders, he traveled to Missouri, preaching and baptizing by the way. The revelation pertaining to the calling of Reynolds Cahoon was given 7 June 1831 and is recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 52 verse 30. Church historians tell us that Samuel H Smith and Reynolds Cahoon were the second missionaries to enter Illinois and the first to enter Kentucky.

He returned to Kirtland in September and in December was ordained a counselor to Bishop Whitney. He was called by revelation, one of the three committeemen, to build a House of the Lord in Kirtland in 1832. He and Hyrum Smith commenced their labors in May by counsel of the Prophet Joseph. They had not a dollar to help them labor, but according to promise they soon had the means to forward the building.

It is significant to the descendants of Reynolds Cahoon to know the high esteem in which he was held by the leaders of the Church, not only because of his faith and obedience but because he devoted his entire life to the work of the Church. He had the fantastically difficult joy of direction the building of the Kirtland Temple and was also chosen, with Hyrum Smith, to act as counselor to Bishop Whitney, the first Bishop at Kirtland. Many were his responsibilities:

  1. To keep the Lord’s storehouse and receive funds of the Church to look after the needy and preside over the affairs of the Church
  2. To keep accounts of property consecrated for public use and administer needs of the Elders
  3. To furnish every Elder entitled to it, a certificate by which he is entitled to have a right to receive an inheritance in Zion
  4. To keep account of the labors of every Bishop
  5. To aid, financially the ‘Stewards’ appointed to look after the literary interests of the Church.

Reynolds and the temple committee were not only appointed to obtain subscriptions for the building of the House of the Lord but was the manager of the store in Kirtland and also raised money and supervised the construction of a school building in Zion. This school was the first in the educational movement of the church. William F Cahoon, son of Reynolds, attended this school. Parley P Pratt presided. Hebrew, Greek and Latin were taught.

In 1834, a certain incident which is of special significance to us as a family and also important in the history of the Book of Mormon occurred. It pertains to the christening of an infant son. Residing in Kirtland, Elder Reynolds Cahoon had a son born to him. One day when President Joseph Smith was passing his door he called the Prophet in to bless and name the baby. Joseph did so and gave the boy the name of Mahonri Moriancumer. When he had finished the blessing he laid the child on the bed and turning to Elder Cahoon saying, ‘the name I have given your son is the name of the brother of Jared; the Lord has just shown (or revealed) it to me.’ William F Cahoon, was standing near and heard the Prophet make this statement to the father. This was the first time the name of the Brother of Jared was known in the church in this dispensation.

In this family and home another event of much importance occurred. It was ‘the first public marriage’ in the Mormon church. Sunday, 17 January 1836, was the marriage of William Farrington Cahoon to Nancy Miranda Gibbs.

The Kirtland temple was dedicated 27 March 1836 and on the day of dedication, an angel appeared, sent as a messenger to accept the dedication. A few days afterward, a solemn assembly was held in accordance with a commandment received, and blessings were given. While these things were being attended to, the beloved disciple, John, was seen in their midst by the Prophet Joseph, Oliver Cowdery and others. Reynolds Cahoon was present as a member of the building committee.

Be stayed in Kirtland till the year 1837 and then he practically abandoned property valued at $5,000. In the autumn of 1837 he was ordained by President Marks as counselor in the Kirtland Stake. In the spring of 1838, Reynolds, his wife, and family traveled to Missouri. They were compelled to leave behind them everything they possessed. 7 June 1838 Joseph Smith visited with Reynolds and Parley P Pratt upon their arrival to Far West. On June 28th a conference of Elders and members of the Church was held in the place Elder Cahoon had selected for his residence for the purpose of organizing the Stake, called Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Reynolds represented the Saints in a solemn pledge of peace but Governor Boggs issued an “order of Extermination” of the Mormons and an armed mob came upon them which resulted in that terrible massacre of Haun’s Mill. Reynolds Cahoon and his son William F tell of the inhumanity and outrages that “shock all nature and defy all description.” The Mormons were forced to move out of Missouri to Illinois where they built the city of Nauvoo. It was here the Lord gave the commandment to “build a House unto Me.” Reynolds was appointed, in company of Brothers A Cutler and E Higbee, to a committee to build the temple in Nauvoo. Reynolds also assisted in building the Mansion House, the residence of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

The persecution of the Saints followed them to Nauvoo and the Prophet’s life was in danger. After finding that there was to be no help from the Governor of Illinois, Thomas Ford, Joseph decided to cross the Mississippi River and to go away to the West.

One evening Hyrum came out of the Mansion House and gave his hand to Reynolds saying, “A company of men are seeking to kill my brother Joseph and the Lord has warned him to flee to the Rocky Mountains to save his life. Good-0by, Brother Cahoon, we shall see you again.”

Orrin Porter Rockwell rowed the skiff which carried Joseph, Hyrum and Doctor Richards to the Iowa side of the river. Brother Bernheisel crossed over the river and Reynolds Cahoon also went to visit Joseph to explain to him, as requested, regarding the Governor’s letter. Emma sent Rockwell to Joseph, requesting him to entreat Joseph to come back. Reynolds accompanied him with a letter which Emma had written to the same effect. She insisted that Reynolds use every persuasion with Joseph to come back and give himself up.

History records: “When they went over they found Joseph, Hyrum and Willard (Richards) in a room, by themselves, having provisions on the floor ready for packing. Reynolds informed Joseph what the troops intended to do and urged him to give himself up inasmuch as the Governor had pledged his faith and the faith of the State to protect him while he underwent a legal and fair trial. After much persuasion, Joseph decided to return to Nauvoo, saying, ‘If my life is of no value to my friends it is of none to myself.’ … and after studying a few moments, Joseph said to Hyrum, ‘If you go back, I will go with you, but we shall be butchered’… then after a short pause, Joseph told Cahoon to request Captain Davis to have his boat ready at the half-past five to cross them over the river.

Reynolds was in Carthage with Joseph and Hyrum and the record states: “Joseph instructed Cahoon to return to Nauvoo with all haste and fetch a number of documents for the promised trial Elder Cahoon returned (to Nauvoo) from Carthage for some papers but sent them back with Rockwell. On 27 June 1844 Joseph and Hyrum were assassinated at Carthage Jail.”

Just three months after the death of Joseph and Hyrum, Reynolds and several other Latter-day Saint men were ‘illegally arrested for treason’ and forced to go to trial at Carthage. The case was dismissed and Reynolds and his friends were released.

Obedient to the commandment, the Nauvoo Temple was completed and on December 10th and 11th, 1845, Thirza and Reynolds received their endowments and at 7:10 p.m., 16 January 1846, were sealed in Celestial marriage by President Brigham Young.

…morning 30 November 1845 and prayed that the Lord would hear their prayers and deliver them from their enemies until they had accomplished His will in His House. Brigham Young ordered the evacuation of Nauvoo and the month of February 1848 found the Mormons in full flight across the frozen crust of the Mississippi River headed toward the unknown west.

9 March 1846, the Cahoon family left Nauvoo. They left their home, without a farthing. They had a span of horses, harness, and a carriage, which had been given them in payment for their home in Nauvoo.

During the journey, on March 14th, Reynolds was thrown from his wagon, dislocating his shoulder. William F and Daniel S Cahoon, sons of Reynolds, also left with their families. They were members of the Nauvoo Brass Band and traveled with this band, playing numerous concerts throughout the various settlements of the Middle West to earn funds to help the great migration.

On May 8, the Cahoon family arrived at Garden Grove, where they met a member of the family, Andrew. He had been carrying mail for the pioneers between Nauvoo and Garden Grove.

Reynolds proved himself to be not only a great architect and builder but a shrewd businessman capable of engineering many complex problems.

25 January 1847 Brigham Young organized his company. I. Morley was nominated president with Reynolds Cahoon and John Young as counselors, each as captains of one hundred. Winter Quarters was to be stockade and guarded to protect the women and children whose husbands were in the army and were not to emigrate until later.

Reynold’s son, Andrew was called to serve a mission to the British Isles while they were at Winter Quarters and it was not until after he had served his mission and returned that the Cahoon Company crossed the plains to join the Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah.

They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in the evening of 23 September 1848, which was about one year later than the first pioneers.

Reynolds Cahoon continued to occupy many important positions in his church and country, ever loyal to his convictions in the truthfulness of the Gospel. He was affectionately called ‘Father Cahoon’ and truly loved by all who knew him. He mingled with his people in all their political, religious and social affairs. In their festivities he was honored on all occasions. He counseled, instructed, led and guided his family, friends and loved ones. He was a speaker at General Conference and at each conference was… to the High Priest Quorum.

Reynolds received the highest praise from those who knew him best, especially from Hyrum Smith and the Prophet Joseph Smith while they were alive, so also did President Brigham Young pay tribute to Reynolds at the General Conferences of 1857, 1859, and 1860.

Reynolds was the first and only private owner of the lots where the Great Salt Lake Theater was built. The location was the corner of First South and State Street. One day Brigham Young came to Reynolds and said, “Brother Cahoon we need your lots, we must build a theater.” These were very valuable lots in the heart of Salt Lake City. Reynolds and Thirza had given everything of worldly value they had ever possessed to their church; they had dedicated every moment of their lives for the Gospel’s sake. When they left the cities of Kirtland and Nauvoo, their homes and property were left behind and many times they had said, “We have given all to God.” “Yes,” they reasoned, “These lots can perform a mission for us, and give or sell, our Church shall have them.” 23 April 1860, history tells us, “Reynolds Cahoon conveyed this property to Brigham Young for the purpose of erecting the Salt Lake Theater.” For payment he received a number of oxen, a wagon, cows, and merchandise. He also had a debt paid he owed in the tithing office which was several hundred dollars. He was well satisfied with the pay as he thought he got a big price for it.

6 March 1862 the building was dedicated for its formal opening by Daniel H Wells. 8 March 1862, two dramatic performances initiated the new Playhouse. The famous old playhouse has since been torn down, the property sold to Mountain States Telephone Company and a metal plaque on the wall of their building marks the spot where the theater once stood.

After the sale of the property, Reynolds and Thirza moved to South Cottonwood, Salt Lake County, Utah. They lived with their son Andrew, who provided and cared for them until the time of their deaths. Reynolds never even had the opportunity of attending a performance in the theater that owed its existence to him, passing away at his residence in South Cottonwoods Ward of dropsy 29 April 1861. He was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery along with his wife Thirza.

Reynolds Cahoon married three times. His first wife was Thirza Stiles, his second, Lucina Johnson, his third, Mary Hildrath. The celestial marriages of Thirza, Lucina and Mary to Reynolds are recorded in the Microfilm department of the Utah Genealogical Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. The date is 16 January 1846 and the film is known as ‘Nauvoo Sealings’. These marriages were performed by Brigham Young.

William Farrington Cahoon, 1813-1897

William Farrington Cahoon, 1813-1897

Autobiography (1813-1878) in Stella Shurtleff and Brent Farrington Cahoon eds.,

Reynolds Cahoon and His Stalwart Sons Salt Lake City, Utah Paragon Press, 1960

Excerpts from autobiography (1813-1878)

EXCERPTS FROM THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF WILLIAM FARRINGTON CAHOON: My father, Reynolds Cahoon, was the son of William Cahoon Jr. and Mehitable Hodge. William Jr. was son of William Sr. whose forefathers came to America from Scotland and settled in Rhode Island and from thence scattered abroad in different parts of the land and I have no record of them. My father was born April 3, 1790 at Cambridge, Washington County, New York. He married December 11, 1810 in New Port, New York, to Thirza Stiles, daughter of Daniel Olds Stiles, son of John Stiles. They were married by Honorable John Stiles. Reynolds moved to Harpersfield, Ohio, then a new country and began farming in the year 1811. . . .

In the winter of 1812 my father Reynolds was called by the government of the United States to go to Buffalo, New York to assist in driving the British from Buffalo, who had crossed Lake Erie from Canada and burned the city. Upon arriving at Erie, they found that the British had crossed back over the lake and he was released and returned home. . . . Reynolds lived in Harpersfield about twelve years. Five children were born at this place.

In the year 1825 he moved about thirty miles farther west near the town of Kirtland and went into the business of tanning leather and making shoes. In this business, he was quite prosperous and accumulated considerable amounts of property.

During this time, a great stir was created over what was known as the “Golden Bible,” or Book of Mormon. He [Reynolds Cahoon] soon became satisfied that the book was of divine origin, and that God had commenced this great and marvelous work as was spoken of by the inspired men of former days. He soon went and was baptized, 12 October [probably November] 1830 and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was baptized by Parley P. Pratt, one of the four elders who had been appointed by revelation to go to the western boundaries of the United States, preaching by the way. He was ordained an elder by Sidney Rigdon and went on a mission calling the people to repent and be baptized. He was ordained a `High Priest’ by Lyman Wight. His missionary companion was Samuel Smith, Joseph’s brother.

In a short time he had used most of his property in preaching and assisting others to build up and establish the work of God in this dispensation of the fullness of time. He was soon ordained to go and preach the gospel of faith to all the world. In 1831 in company with Samuel H. Smith and twenty-four elders, he traveled to Missouri, preaching by the way. He returned in September and in December was ordained a counselor to Bishop Whitney. He was called by revelation [D&C 94:Intro.], one of the three committee men to build a House to the Lord [temple] in Kirtland in 1832. He and Hyrum Smith commenced their labors in May by counsel of the prophet Joseph. They had not a dollar to help them labor on the building but according to promise they soon had means to forward the building. They proceeded then until the temple was finished. In the autumn of 1837 he was ordained by President Marks as the president’s counselor in the stake of Kirtland and in month of March 1838 moved into Missouri and was with the Saints in their troubles there. In Nauvoo, he was appointed, in company of Brothers A. Cutler and E. Higbee, a committee to build a House to the Lord [temple] in Nauvoo.

My father’s calling, ordinations and a brief sketch of his labors in the Church up to 1845 are thus recorded. He was faithful and true. He labored with and for the Church and was driven with them from Nauvoo and came out to Utah with the people of God, having fought the good fight and won the prize, eternal life. . . .

I, William F. Cahoon, was the first born and oldest son of Reynolds Cahoon and Thirza Stiles. I was born in Harpersfield, Ashtabula County, Ohio on the 7th day of November, 1813. When I was about 17 years old, I was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- days by Elder Parley P. Pratt, on 16th day of October 1830, and I was ordained a priest under the hands of Oliver Cowdery at a conference of elders held at the town of Orange, Ohio on the 25th October 1831. On 2nd February 1835 was selected as a seventy. . . .

From October 1831, during the next twelve months, I was occupied laboring with my hands making boots and shoes gratis for the elders who were starting out to preach and for the support of my father’s family, occasionally holding meetings and bearing my testimony to the truth of the work of God in the last days; also in visiting the churches exhorting the Saints to faithfulness and obedience to the commandments of God.

On the 19th of November I started on a mission to the east in company with Zebedee Coltrin and John Boynton with whom I traveled for a few days and then was appointed to travel with father (Reynolds) Cahoon and David Patten. With the last, I traveled as far east as Silver Creek in the state of New York, preaching and baptizing in several places. The Lord accepted our labors and we were greatly blessed laboring in God’s work.

I arrived home from my mission February 27, 1833 and remained until March 21st, when I was then appointed to travel and preach the gospel in company with Elder A. Lyman. We traveled through the east of Ohio, through Pennsylvania and part of New York preaching and baptizing with great success. While with Elder Lyman, I was called by the voice of the Church and ordained an elder. The spirit of the living God was with us.

The last part of August I returned home and labored with my hands until May 5, 1834. I then enlisted to go to the land of Zion in Jackson County and started with the Volunteer Company under the Prophet Joseph Smith for the delivery of the brethren who had been driven from their homes by a ruthless band of mobocrats.

On May 5, 1834 the [Zion’s] camp left [for] Missouri. It was truly a solemn morning, we left our wives, children and friends, not knowing whether we would see them again as we were threatened by enemies that would destroy and exterminate us from the land. We were facing the “lion in his den.”

Joseph Smith had made this pledge to us, “If you will go with me to Missouri and keep my counsel, I pledge that I will lead you there and back and not a hair of your head shall be hurt.”

This [Zion’s] camp marched through a population of tens of thousands of people like lambs among wolves, but no man among them opened his mouth to say, “Why do you do so?” On we marched singing our favorite song, “Hark listen to the Trumpeters.”

[As told by William F. and father Cole]. While traveling across the vast prairie, treeless and waterless, they camped at night after a long and wearisome day’s march. They had been without water since early morning, and men and animals suffered greatly from thirst, for it had been one of the hottest days of June. Joseph sat at his tent looking out upon the scene. All at once he called for a spade. When it was brought, he looked about him and selected a spot, the most convenient in the camp for men and teams to get water. Then he dug a shallow well, and immediately the water came bubbling up into it and filled it, so that the horses and mules could stand and drink from it. While the camp stayed there, the well remained full, despite the fact that about two hundred men and scores of horses and mules were supplied from it.

[This incident was related to Elder O. B. Huntington by William F. Cahoon. It was also told to Elder Huntington by father Zera Cole while Elder Huntington and father Cole were working for the dead in the Logan Temple. Zera Cole was with the camp of Zion and when it went to Missouri in 1834, William F.’s brother-in-law, Harvey Stanley, also went with them. The autobiography continues:]

We journeyed, pitching our tents by the way, and arrived in Missouri in the latter part of June. We then numbered two hundred and five. A council was held to determine what steps to take when the word of the Lord came to the Prophet Joseph saying the time had not come to “take the sword in hand to redeem Zion.”

Many in the [Zion’s] camp murmured because we were not permitted at this time to restore our brethren at all hazards, which greatly displeased the Lord, who a few days afterwards sent a scourge amongst us; the cholera which took from us sixteen or more of our number. This caused great sorrow and mourning in our camp. It is a fearful thing to fall under the displeasure of the living God and to openly rebel against Him and murmur at the counsel of His servant, the Prophet.

Shortly after our camp broke up. Some returned to the churches in the east and some were required to tarry and aid in defending the new homes they had chosen. It fell my lot to remain until the fall. I labored with my hands until I was taken sick with the fever and ague.

In the latter part of October I received my discharge and in company with Elder H. Riggs, I started for home by way of the rivers for we were not able to travel by land. I arrived home, 17th day of November, 1834. This was a day of rejoicing for both parents and children and we felt to thank God for preserving our lives and bringing us together again. As soon as my health permitted I commenced going to school and I attended all the church meetings as far as I was able to.

On the 14th day of February 1835, a conference was called which lasted several days. On the 14th of the month, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was organized for the first time in this dispensation. At this conference, there was also organized the First Quorum of Seventies. I was called as a member of the First Quorum of Seventies and was ordained to this office, 28th February, 1835.

The next season, after I had been ordained a seventy, I went and labored on the Lord’s House and continued so to labor until the temple was finished and dedicated April 6, 1836. I received my washing and annointings and remained in Kirtland.

On January 17, 1836, I married Nancy Miranda Gibbs. We were married before a concourse of people. Several hundred witnessed the ceremony. It was done to establish precedent of public marriage by the Church instead of taking out a license from the County Court, marriage notice being published several times previously in the Church, which custom was allowed by the laws of the state. About three thousand assembled both inside and outside the Church when we were married. Nancy was only 17 years old when we were married.

[Form of Marriage Certificate: I hereby certify, that, agreeable to the rules and regulations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on matrimony, Mr. William F. Cahoon and Miss Nancy M. Gibbs, both of this place, were joined in marriage, on Sabbath, the 17th, instant. Kirtland, Ohio, January 19th, 1836–Joseph Smith, Jr.] . . .

In the spring of 1838, I with my family and my father, Reynolds and his family went from Kirtland to Missouri. My family consisted of wife and daughter we had named Nancy Ermina, born 23 February 1837. I left behind me a good lot all paid for, for which I labored very hard to get, also a good seven-room house well furnished and owned by myself. . . I could not dispose of it, so I turned the key and locked the door and left it, and from that day to this, I have not received anything for my property which is in the hands of strangers.

However, we left it and went on our journey, pitching tents for a house. After a long and tiresome journey we arrived at Far West, 5 May 1838, and we rejoiced to find the Saints prospering and in good spirits. I remained here until the fall of the year, laboring for the support of my family.

I then moved to Adam-ondi-Ahman where I commenced to build for myself, a log house but was compelled to stop on account of the mobbers who came upon us. This was a time of grief and trouble to us, the mob who infested this beautiful region of country, were constantly creating excitement after excitement adding rumor to rumor until we were forced to watch them by night, as well as by day. We were so harassed that we were not able to build houses or even spare time to procure food for our families and we lived in peril. Our fare was also poor as we could not get our corn ground and we had to punch holes in pieces of tin and take ears of corn and grate them on the tin to get or make meal for our bread, and we had to live on this kind of food for six months.

After a great deal of excitement and some skirmishing, the governor of the state of Missouri, Lilburn W. Boggs sent his blood-thirsty minions, who surrounded us, his ever-to-be-remembered and execrated inhuman order, for the extermination of the Latter-day Saints or their eternal banishment from their homes, their houses and land, and from the state. In pursuance of which order, all the surrounding branches of the Church, were either butchered in cold blood, old and young included in one indiscriminate slaughter or else they were driven into Far West. I and my family went into Far West and the mob at length concluded to strip us of all we possessed and then banish us from the state. . .

I was at Far West at the time of the arrival of the main body of Boggs cut-throat minions. It was like opening the gates of hell, for such creatures as they were, could come from no other place, or at least they were inspired by the fiends of hell to accomplish the devilish designs of the infamous scoundrel who sent them, Lilburn W. Boggs. I expect the Lord will reward him according to his works and give him his portion with his master, the devil, Amen.

I, in company with all the rest of the church there, was arrested and put under guard. We were forced to sign a deed of trust of all we possessed. I passed an examination of seven consecutive days, after which I was permitted to return to my family at Adam-ondi-Ahman. I found my wife in deep sorrow and weeping, for she knew not what had become of me or whether I was alive or dead. (AFFIDAVIT OF WILLIAM F. CAHOON: MISSOURI WRONGS).

I hereby certify that in the year 1838, I was residing in Daviess County, Missouri, and while from home I was taken a prisoner in Far West by the Militia, and kept under guard for six or eight days, in which time I was forced to sign a Deed of Trust, after which I was permitted to return home to my family in Daviess County, and found them surrounded by an armed force, with the rest of my neighbors, who were much frightened. The order from the militia was to leave the county within ten days, in which time my house was broken open and many goods taken out by the militia. We were not permitted to go from place to place without a pass from the general, and on leaving the county, I received a pass as follows: I permit William F. Cahoon to pass from Daviess to Caldwell County, and there remain during the winter, and thence to pass out of the state of Missouri. –Signed November 10, 1838–Reeves, a Brigadier General.

During this time, both myself and my family suffered much on account of cold and hunger because we were not permitted to go outside of the guard to obtain wood and provisions; and according to order, of the militia, in the spring following, I took my family and left the state with the loss of much property. (Signed, William F. Cahoon; Territory of Iowa, Lee County. Subscribed and Sworn Before D. W. Kilbourn, J. P. [See HC 4:52.]

My father (Reynolds), was also made prisoner at the same time and was under arrest several days. As soon as he gained his liberty, we and our families moved to Far West with many more families of the Saints and remained there until the 4th February, when the time was nearly up for us poor exiles to leave the state and seek other homes somewhere in the wide world.

We started and arrived at Quincy in the state of Illinois here we found a people who treated us with the greatest degree of hospitality and kindness, assisting the Saints with food and giving them houses to live in. After stopping at Quincy about five weeks, I went to live with a man by the name of Travis who gave me employment and towards whom my bosom burns with gratitude. May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob reward him and his family for their kindness to me and my family when we were poor and forlorn without a home and shelter. I remained with this man until the next fall. I then moved to Montrose in Lee County, Iowa.

During this time, the Prophet Joseph had purchased a small location for the Saints to gather, which he laid off in squares and named Nauvoo. I remained in Montrose until the spring of 1842. I then moved to Nauvoo and commenced working on the temple of the Lord as a carpenter and joiner. The Lord prospered me in my labors so that I was enabled to build a small house for a home among the Saints. I was appointed timekeeper of the carpenters and joiners who worked on the [Nauvoo] temple.

Soon after I moved to Nauvoo, the Saints began to gather from all parts of the world and from the surrounding states in great numbers. Houses began to be built in all directions and the city of Nauvoo constantly increased in number and enlarged her boundaries and under the wisdom and direction of God’s Prophet Joseph Smith, Zion was greatly blessed and the Saints rejoiced in the truth and in seeing His purposes and plans carried out as they were revealed through His Servant Joseph.

At length the storm burst forth and it seemed as if the devil with all his forces was arrayed against the Saints of the Most High and he found plenty of help for the Prophet Joseph was harassed from all sides, from foes without and traitors within the Church. Those, at least some of those, whom he had blessed, turned and stung him; some under the “garb of sanctity,” but whose deeds were as black as hell, faithless, rotten-hearted wretches who would sell their father’s soul for filthy lucre. For they did sell him, who was a father to the people, the Prophet of God, the brave, true-hearted man among men; Joseph Smith and his noble and loving brother Hyrum, the Patriarch.

The same unrelenting, fiendish hatred that possessed the people in Missouri, followed the Church to Nauvoo and robbed the Church of God and the world at large, of two of the most God-like men who have ever lived in any age. On the 27th day of June at 5 p.m., Joseph Smith and Hyrum were brutally murdered. The particulars of this cruel and inhuman act are well-known and will have to be atoned for by this nation. The murder of the Prophet seemed for a time to quell the mob spirit of even the actors themselves and Nauvoo increased faster than ever.

In the spring of 1845, I was appointed to superintend the raising of all the timbers of the [Nauvoo] temple. We finished raising all the framing part August 23, 1845. When the temple was enclosed, the cowardly wretches again commenced the work of devastation, but the Lord, Himself, interposed in behalf of His people, manifested His power and filled the hearts of the wretches with such fear, that when a few horsemen appeared before them to give battle, they fled out of the state, and then we saw the fulfillment of the words written in the Book of Mormon, that a people who will strictly obey the revelations of God, He will bless and prosper them in the land. Again, on the 9th and 10th of September, the mob began to burn our houses and destroy our property, the property of the Saints, and kept up a continual scene of persecution from this time until we left Nauvoo.

I continued work on the [Nauvoo] temple and in the endowment rooms until the 3rd of February 1846. On the 4th of February, I began to repair wagons for our journey into the wilderness, for it was surely one. I worked on wagons 10 days and on the 15th, I and my family left with the Nauvoo Brass Band, and my brother Daniel S. was along with us. We bid farewell to the beautiful city of Nauvoo, the city of Joseph, and started for the camp of Israel which was Sugar Creek, Iowa. Here we joined Brigham Young’s camp.

We had a hard time. It was very cold weather, wet and snow and frost, but the Lord sustained us and we journeyed west, pitching tents by the way. We reached Garden Grove. I was appointed to oversee the house building and keep the roll of workmen.

We built houses and laid out farms. I remained at this place until the 13th of May. I left my family at this place, took my team and my brother Daniel’s family and traveled first in Brother Spencer’s company until the 19th and then went back for my family. They were well. We then started West and the 24th, we camped with Brother Charles C. Rich and others and on the 26th, we arrived at the main camp. I remained at this place until the 7th of June. I then started back with my team to meet my father’s family. On the 8th, I found them and father Cutler and family. I remained behind to get some wagons they had left behind a few days before, while they continued their journey.

On the 12th, we arrived at the main camp at Pisgah. I remained in camp two days and the 14th began to go back to trade for oxen and provisions for our journey. On the 15th, my Brother Andrew, myself and father Cutler and some others started back for the settlements. We were kept busy traveling and trading until 6th July. We then started for the camp in the wilderness. On the 12th Brother Daniel came back to help us. We traveled fast to get back as soon as possible. The camp had gone on.

The 23rd we overtook father Cutler’s camp, on 31st, we crossed the Missouri River and on Saturday, 1st August, we reached the main camp. On 5th, we traveled to a place afterwards called Cutler’s Park where I remained until 21st day March, 1849 when my brother Daniel and myself started for the Salt Lake Valley where the Church had found a resting place. The pioneers led by Brigham Young entered this valley after a very tiresome journey of 1000 miles from the Missouri River, on the 24th July 1847. They built a fort and put in seed as soon as they arrived and they laid out the city of Great Salt Lake.

In the meantime, during the time I remained behind; I was busy all the time, cutting and hauling logs, building houses and sheds, barns, fencing, shoemaking; in fact, I was jack-of-all trades, nothing came amiss. I was always on hand either to work on a farm, haul wood, build a mill or attend meeting. During this time, I went back into Missouri to work for provisions for my family and preparing myself for my journey across the mountains into Salt Lake Valley.

As stated above, I in company with my Brother Daniel and our families, started on the 21st March and camped the first day at Brother Burgess’, six miles out. At length, we were on the way leaving civilization behind us and glad to get away from it, and as we journeyed across the great plains in the wage of the pioneers, we felt as if the “God of Joseph” was with us and blessed us and preserved us. On our way we had the usual vicissitudes of the early travelers across the plains, such as fording rivers, and when we could not ford, making rafts and building bridges, killing snakes, burying our dead, guarding our cattle and traveling under difficulties.

We traveled day after day, for six months and on 24th day September 1849, we entered the valley in company with my father and Andrew’s family who came to meet us. Was it not a joyful meeting! Only those separated from their families for a long time, can tell. From the time I entered the valley, most of my time has been spent working on public works and the Church in different capacities. I worked as foreman over the carpenters of the tabernacle that was pulled down in 1877 to make room for the present rock tabernacle that was being built in the year 1878. I worked on the woolen mills in Canyon Creek, what is now the paper mill. In fact, my life has been spent generally in the service of the Church.

I rejoice still in the truths of the gospel of Christ. I am happy in doing the will of my Father in Heaven. I thank God for preserving me in the truth and for watchful providence that has been over us, a people. We were driven out from Nauvoo at the point of a bayonet, into the wilderness in the extreme cold weather, homeless and friendless. Yes, God was our friend; He led us by His Almighty power, and with an outstretched arm, He has delivered us; our sorrow, He has turned into joy. He has sanctified our tribulations to our good and has blessed and multiplied us as a people until we have become a great people. He has made the wilderness we came to inhabit to blossom as the rose, and Utah Territory is prospered, and the city of Salt Lake is one of the most beautiful cities on the face of the earth, and the wonder of the nation who drove us forth from their midst. . . .

[At age seventeen, William F. Cahoon was appointed a ward teacher. His duty like all ward teachers was to visit the members of the Church, ask them certain designated questions and report back to the officers of his quorum. The following was related by William F. upon the occasion of bearing his testimony. He is speaking of the Prophet Joseph Smith. This incident, entitled, “A Humble Ward Teacher,” was published in the Deseret News (Church Section), Juvenile Instructor 27:492, and in Reynolds Cahoon and His Stalwart Sons. Pagination is according to the latter work.] Before I close my testimony concerning this good man (Joseph Smith), I wish to mention one circumstance which I shall never forget. I was called and ordained to act as a ward teacher to visit the families of the Saints. I got along very well until I was obliged to pay a visit to the Prophet. Being young, only 17 years of age, I felt my weakness in the capacity of a teacher. I almost felt like shrinking from my duty.

Finally, I went to the door and knocked and in a minute the Prophet came to the door. I stood there trembling and said to him; “Brother Joseph, I have come to visit you in the capacity of a ward teacher, if it is convenient for you. He said, “Brother William, come right in. I am glad to see you. Sit down in that chair there and I will go and call my family in.” They soon came in and took seats. The Prophet said, “Brother William, I submit myself and family into your hands,” and took his seat. “Now, Brother William, said he, “Ask all the questions you feel like.”

By this time my fears and trembling had ceased and I said, “Brother Joseph, are you trying to live your religion?” He answered, “Yes.” I then said, “Do you pray in your family?” He answered “Yes.” “Do you teach your family the principles of the gospel?” He replied, “Yes, I am trying to do it.” “Do you ask a blessing on your food?” He said he did. “Are you trying to live in peace and harmony with all your family?” He said that he was.

I turned to Sister Emma, his wife, and said, “Sister Emma, are you trying to live your religion? Do you teach your children to obey their parents? Do you try to teach them to pray?” To all these questions she answered, “Yes, I am trying to do so.” I then turned to Joseph and said, “I am now through with my questions as a teacher and now if you have any instructions to give, I shall be happy to receive them.” He said, “God bless you Brother William, and if you are humble and faithful you shall have power to settle all difficulties that may come before you in the capacity of a teacher.” I then left my parting blessing upon him and his family, as a teacher, and departed.

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