Our Family Legacy
Edson Whipple was born February 5th, 1805, in the town of Dummerston, County of Windham, Vermont, where my father settled in the year of 1780 at the age of twenty-one years. Here he spent the remainder of his life and died in 1830.
I lived with my father until his death and in 1832 married a wife and in 1834 we moved to Boston, Massachusetts. In the summer of 1837 we moved to Philadelphia where we spent five years.
Here we became acquainted with the Church of Jesus Christ and on June 16th, 1840, I was received into it by baptism and the laying on of hands under the administration of Elder Benjamin Winchester.
On the 17th of October the same year at Conference held in Philadelphia, I was proposed and ordained to the office of a High Priest by Elders Hyde and Beame. And on the 6th of April I was chosen first counselor to Elder Winchester and ordained a High Priest by President Hyrum Smith. I officiated in that capacity until 1842.
The 27th of September I left in Company with some twelve or fifteen brethren for Nauvoo. We were detained the first Sabbath on the Allegheny Mountain and held two meetings, after which I baptized the Captain of the boat, Jacob Wetzler and two of his brothers, and three others.
We were, in consequence of a low stage of water in the Ohio River; thirty-two days from Philadelphia to Nauvoo.
I remained in Nauvoo until May, 1844. I built me a house in that time.
I left the first day of May for a mission to Pennsylvania in company with David Yearsley. We were appointed as Presidents of that State.
During the labors of that mission, I baptized Eli Whipple, my nephew, and his mother, Margery Willard Whipple, the wife of John Whipple, my eldest brother. Also William Davis, my brother-in-law the husband of Polly, my third sister. Also, I baptized his father.
Also I baptized Clarissa Whipple, the wife of my 3rd brother, Alfred Whipple.
During my stay in Chautauqua County, New York, where I went to visit my friends, I became acquainted with Joshaew Holmon in Jamestown; also his brother, Sanford and family who lived in that town.
I returned from my mission to Nauvoo on the seventh of November, 1844.
During this time, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed in Carthage jail.
On my way home, while passing down the river, I became acquainted with a Mrs. Johnson and preached the Gospel to her. When we arrived at St. Louis, she went with me to a Brother Crock's house and we in company with them went to water where I baptized and confirmed her.
She had come from Philadelphia in search of her husband. She found him, and he became very hostile toward the Mormons and said he would kill the man who baptized her. (I shall speak of this man hereafter.)
Brother George Chamberlain, a brother who was baptized in Philadelphia about the time I was, had immigrated to Nauvoo in the spring of 1843, stopped with me during the summer, and in the fall went to St. Louis where he remained until May, 1844. Then he went with me to fill a mission to Pennsylvania.
He labored with me until he got sick. I left him at my brother John's in McKean County, Pennsylvania.
He returned to Philadelphia after he got well. There he remains to this day (1858) in a state of apostasy.
My wife, Lavinia Goss, that I married on February 6th, 1832, joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in April, 1840.
The next winter after we were married she delivered a stillborn child, a girl, supposed to be about six months developed. In the winter of 1845 she bore me a daughter that we called Maria Blanche.
During our sojourn in Nauvoo, she kept school. Her father died in 1836 in the city of Newfane, Windham County, Vermont, while we lived in Boston.
After we moved to Philadelphia, and had joined the Mormons, we visited our relatives in Vermont and her mother became a believer in the faith of the Mormons, and in the year of 1843 she had prepared and was calculating to start in about two weeks for Nauvoo, but died very suddenly. She was found dead in her bed in the morning.
While I was visiting there I baptized Clarissa, Lavinia's older sister, and confirmed her and her husband, James Eastman who had been baptized in Boston some two weeks before. They soon after moved to Nauvoo. There he and myself joined lots and we built joining to each other.
A large two-story frame house in the Hatchkeys Purchase a little northeast of the Nauvoo brick yard.
Lavinia was the youngest of her father's family.
After I returned from my mission in 1844, I assisted in defending Nauvoo against the mobs that threatened destruction to our city and Temple, and sought the life of our Apostles.
I was on guard some three or four miles down the river when General Harden with some thirty men on their way to Nauvoo to take Brigham Young the time they took William Millar, supposing it to be Brigham Young.
After they passed by, I started to give the alarm. I arrived at the Temple about three quarters of an hour before the posse.
Conference was then convened. I sent in for General Rich who made the arrangement for their reception.
While I lived in Nauvoo, Willard Whipple, my nephew made me a visit. He stopped some two or three weeks with me. After this he took his departure.
Alfred Aldritch, a nephew, also came to see me. He stopped a few days. They were the only relatives that came to Nauvoo to see me.
I belonged to what was called the Police under Capt. Jesse Hunt. At the time of the organization for building wagons, I was appointed Captain of one of the tens in General Rich's Company.
When the burning began in the outer settlements, Hugh McKinsy, who lived about twenty miles on the LaDays? Road moved into the city into the lower part of the house that I then occupied. On the 15th of May, l846, McKinsy crossed the Mississippi on our way to Garden Grove.
We crossed the Desemy River at a place called Eddesville. We found slow traveling owing to the swampy places we had to pass through.
I stopped at Garden Grove about two weeks. Then I left for Council Bluffs where I arrived about the middle of July, 1846.
I traveled alone until after I passed Pisgah. After leaving Pisgah, the same day I joined Bishop Hale's camp.
James Eastman and family were along with him. Sunday evening after joining him we camped a little from the road when word came to us that Brigham Young was on the road on his way from the Bluffs to Pisgah and wished to see some of us. Four or five of us went and had an interview with him. He told us that the government had made a demand on us for five hundred men to go to the Mexican War. We said to him "You are not going to let them go, are you?" Brother Young said, "Yes, (but with a flourish of his arm) we will make them play Yankee Doodle by and by."
After arriving at the Bluffs we were counseled to fix for the winter. Myself and some twelve or fifteen families fixed ourselves on a small tributary that emptied into Cagg Creek, about twenty miles below Winter Quarters. Here we intended to spend the winter, but we found it to be a very sickly place.
Out of the families that stopped, there were buried fourteen persons. There I buried my entire family--my wife and child (a girl about 22 months old), and Mother, who was 76 years old. I was very sick at the time. I buried my wife and mother. My mother died September 9th; my wife September 13th, and my little girl December 8th (1846). My wife was 36 years old when she died. We found it was better for us to move to some other place. We moved a place on Cagg Creek near the Buelberry Settlement, as it was called.
My little girl died after we moved, but I sent her to be buried with her mother and grandmother. They now lay side-by-side on a ridge that runs up from the creek on the east side some sixty or seventy rods from the creek. The ridge lies between the turnbac? and the pruirence.
While I was living on the little creek, I had a dream and the interpretation in which I was made acquainted that my family was all to be taken from me. When my wife and mother were first taken sick a Sister Jacobs said, "I think they will recover." I said, "They will all be taken from me."
I was very sick at the time that my wife and mother died. At that time, there were only two well persons in the camp. All the rest were complaining.
At that time I had built me a small log house and had moved into it the day my mother was taken sick. After they were buried, I was left with my sick child, no one to take care of us. I was so weak that I could not walk alone without holding on to something. I lay one day and a night in this condition. No one came to my assistance. The second day Brother Franklin Stewart came and said it would not do for me to lie in that condition alone. He said he and his family were all unwell but he thought that they might assist us some if we were at his camp tent which was about a quarter mile from me. He proposed that I should be moved and sent John Miles, the only well man in our camp, to fetch my oxen and wagon and took me to his camp where I stayed about ten days.
When I returned to my house thinking I could take care of myself and child. But I was very weak, so much so that the next morning after, I went to the creek. This brought on a relapse and I was sicker than before.
I was called at the April Conference in April, 1844 to go on a mission, with David Yeardsley to the State of Pennsylvania to canvass the state and present to the people Joseph Smith's views on government and him for a candidate for the next President of the U.S.
I left Nauvoo on the 4th of May. The November following I returned. While I was away, the Prophet Joseph was murdered. At the first meeting after my return, I saw the mantle of Joseph Smith rest upon Brigham Young while he spoke to the people.
I assisted in building up the city and Temple and defending our homes. I was present at the laying of the capstone of the Temple and received my endowments in it when [it] was completed.
During the winter of 1845, I worked under Capt. Charles Rich at making wagons, being organized in his ten.
In the spring of 1846, May 15th, I crossed the Mississippi River on my way to the Rocky Mountains. (The Valley of the Great Salt Lake) With my family of four, myself, my wife, my mother and our one child. We stopped at Garden Grove two weeks and then rolled out for Council Bluffs. We overtook Bishop Hale's company and traveled with them. We arrived at the Bluffs about the middle of July. While we were traveling we met Brigham Young returning from the Bluffs to Pisgah. He informed us that the Government had made a demand for five hundred men to enlist as volunteers to go to Mexico and said we would respond.
Myself and family together with several families looked out a place some 25 or 30 miles below the Bluffs, down the river on Pony Creek. We prepared for the winter, but we found after remaining there until the first of November, that it was so sickly that we had to move.
While we stopped there my family and myself were all sick. On the 9th of September, my mother died and three days later my wife died also. At the same time, my child and I were both sick. The whole camp (some fourteen families) with the exception of two persons, were all sick and dying off. While we were there we buried some whole families.
After our removal to another place some 4 miles, on the 8th of December, my little girl died. She was 22 months old. We took her to where her mother and grandmother were buried. And there they lie buried side-by-side in coffins made of split planks from the Basswood trees.
Being driven from our comfortable homes in Nauvoo and the comforts of life by a ruthless mob, they died Martyrs to the cause of Christ and in the resurrection will receive a Martyr's reward.
In the spring of 1847, I was called in company with 142 more and organized as a pioneer company to lead the way into the wilderness.
I left Winter Quarters on the 9th day of April. I traveled in the first ten of the second division under Capt. Appleton Harmond. Pres. Heber C. Kimball traveled in the same company. I was one of the guards chosen to guard the camp, taking my turn every third night.
I left Winter Quarters on April 9th, and arrived in Salt Lake Valley, July 22, 1847. The company which numbered about 143 was divided when within about 60 miles of Salt Lake, was divided owing to sickness in camp. Willard Richards started with about 1/3 of the company, and the second day after G.A. Smith started with about one half of the company that had been left. I went with his company. We overtook the first company some seven miles before they reached the Salt Lake Valley. The next day we camped in the Valley, on what was called East Canyon Creek.
The next day we moved and camped on City Creek. The second day after that, Pres. Young arrived with the rest of the Company, it being July 24th, 1847.
We had with us ploughs and harrows and we soon commenced to use them. But we found that the land must be irrigated before we could plow. We appointed a man one of our number by the name of Wolsey to be our watermaster. We watered from fifty to seventy-five acres and planted a variety of seeds which came up and grew rapidly, but because it was so late in the season only a little bit matured.
In a few days after our arrival, a company of the Mormon Battalion that had wintered at Santa Fe, New Mexico, arrived also. The largest half of the pioneer company returned the same season to Winter Quarters where they had been before.
After arriving at Salt Lake, when the pioneers returned to Winter Quarters, I remained and took charge of the property left by the pioneers, and all of Brother Kimball's family effects that came up in the company that followed the pioneers.
Having buried all my family on the plains, I farmed for him the first year. I raised some four hundred bushels of grain for him.
I was a member of the first High Council organized in Salt Lake.
The second year after the immigration arrived, on the 13th of October, I started in company with eleven more to go back to the states on business for myself and for the discharged soldiers.
While I was in the States, Elder Woodruff was sent back to the States with an epistle from the Twelve Apostles to gather out the Saints from the East.
I was called by a written epistle, from him to assist him in visiting the Saints and to help in gathering.
I had been laboring in Maryland and had baptized and organized a Branch of sixteen members. I visited Brother Woodruff in Boston. I was requested to cross the plains in the early part of June, 1850.
I met him at Bethlehem at the crossing of the Missouri River where his company was organized with captains of tens and fifties and hundreds. He appointed me Captain of Fifty. Each fifty traveled separate, but sometimes we camped together on Sunday.
Capt. Leonard Hardy had charge of the first fifty in which Brother Woodruff started. I had a blacksmith in my company, and when we arrived at Ash Hollow, he having ten wagons loaded with merchandise and machinery which required being repaired, he moved them and his family into my Fifty and traveled with me the rest of the way.
We arrived in Salt Lake City October 13th, 1850. I had been absent just two years.
Soon after I arrived I married. I had been single since I buried my wife in Pottawattamie in 1846.
I was then called with G.A. Smith to go settle Iron County.
I left S.L.C. on the 4th of December. There were 101 wagons in all; we arrived at the place where Parowan is now located on January 14th, 1851.
In organizing Iron County, G.A. Smith was appointed Judge of the County Court, and it required associates at that time to make a full bench. I was his first associate.
In our military organization I was elected Captain over the company called "the Home Guard."
G.A. [Smith] requested that we submit plans for laying off our fort and the plan of locating our houses. Several of the company presented plans, and I presented my plan which was accepted and adopted, and Parowan was built according to it.
George Brimhall and myself built a thresher and water-power-getting grant from the city council to use water of the creek. We threshed the first crop raised.
I was a member of the city council.
In May, 1851, Pres. Young and company made us a visit and while there, Pres. Heber C. Kimball counseled me after the mission was established to return to Provo.
feel free to contact
me with any questions or comments.