Our Family Legacy
Abraham's father died when he was a year old. As a youth he suffered from headaches. Noticing his discomfort caused by the headaches a woman inquired, “Have you been drinking tea?” “Yes,” said Abraham. “If you will stop drinking tea, it will cure your headache,” replied the woman. Abraham accepted her advice and stopped drinking both tea and alcohol. His headaches decreased and his vitality increased (Life Sketch, Abraham Day).
A year after his marriage to Elmira he was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 1 June 1839. In 1840 the young couple removed to Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, where Abraham played in the Nauvoo Legion band and was ordained a seventy (HC 7:135).
One memorable event in his life in Nauvoo was accompanying the Prophet Joseph Smith on his visit to Chief Wolf. Abraham recalled: A very old man, Chief Wolf, . . . had promised him that he would live to see a book that would tell of his forefathers, and he knew the Book of Mormon was that book, and now that he had seen it he was ready to die (Life Sketch, Abraham Day).
In Illinois, Abraham contracted chills and a fever. For three days he was in such a comatose state that some of his neighbors thought he was dead. He was miraculously healed by Joseph Smith. After his healing he attended a barn raising, where his renewed vitality was noted (Life Sketch, Abraham Day). Abraham was given his endowment in the Nauvoo temple before removing to Iowa Territory (Nauvoo Temple Register).
In Council Bluffs, he heard the call for volunteers to join the Mormon Battalion. His initial response was, "Here is one man who will not go, d__n them." But when Brigham Young spoke and asked for men to enlist, Abraham volunteered. He left his wife, two children, and his wife's parents in Iowa Territory. At the time of his enlistment, he was 5’10”, having blue eyes, black hair, and a fair complexion. He was a millwright by trade (Pension File).
When the battalion arrived at Fort Leavenworth, Abraham sent four dollars to his family in Council Bluffs (Journal History, 31 August 1846). In October 1846 he served as a battalion teamster (Pension File). During the march through the desert, he and his companions suffered from dehydration. On one occasion near the Mexican border, he penned: "The burning heat of that region was intensified by the lack of water, and many of the men lay prostrate, their tongues swollen, and their bodies parched in a frightful manner" (Life Sketch, Abraham Day).
Abraham was herding mules when the battalion neared a pool of muddy water. He realized that if the animals drank, the men would not. He "bayoneted those poor beasts of burden in order to save his comrades." He was immediately arrested and ordered to report to Captain Cooke. Cooke acquitted him and praised "his good judgment and prompt action." Abraham was asked about the men's conditions on the march, "How hungry were they?" His reply was, "Just hungry enough to eat all of the worn out mule except the bray" (Life Sketch, Abraham Day).
He viewed Dr. Sanderson's ministering of calomel and arsenic as a worse detriment to the men's health than thirst or hunger. Abraham believed his teeth became loose and some dropped out because of such medication (Life Sketch, Abraham Day). He completed the battalion march to Ciudad de los Angeles, where he was discharged on 16 July 1847.
After his discharge, he migrated to Council Bluffs in the autumn of 1847. He was forced to kill some of his animals and cut strips of rawhide from his saddle in order to prevent starvation on the journey east. At one point a leather cord, found in an Indian village, sustained him. He reached Iowa in February 1848 (Life Sketch, Abraham Day).
In Iowa he found his family living in a small cabin, where he joined them for the next three years. He received his patriarchal blessing on 28 March 1852 in Council Bluffs and was elected justice of the peace (Patriarchal Blessing Index; Journal History, 4 April 1849).
In 1851 Abraham and his family migrated to the Salt Lake Valley. During his year in Salt Lake City he obeyed the law of plural marriage. He and his families then removed to Springville, Utah County, for nine years and then to Mount Pleasant, Sanpete County for twenty-four years. At these locations Abraham worked as a farmer, machinist, inventor, woodcutter, constable, mayor, and millwright. He built grist mills in Springville, Mount Pleasant, and Nephi, Juab County (Life Sketch, Abraham Day).
Brigham Young excused him from fighting in the Black Hawk Indian War, explaining, "Brother Day has done his share of military work." On 20 May 1857 Abraham was ordained a president of the Twenty-sixth Quorum of the Seventy in Springville, Utah County. He was successful in his business enterprises until the late 1860s when his crops were eaten by grasshoppers, his cattle were stolen by Indians, and his lumber business was halted by Indian raids (Life Sketch, Abraham Day).
Abraham served as a counselor to Bishop William J. Seely in Mount Pleasant, Sanpete County. During the last fifteen years of his life he suffered from bronchitis and asthma, which left him unable to do manual labor. His only source of income at this time was his government pension (Pension File). After his death his widow, Elmira, lived with her son in Emery County.
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