The Church has always held an interest for the Lamanites. In 1830, four missionaries were called to preach to the Lamanites in the Missouri area. These same missionaries also taught Lamanites in the Buffalo, New York area. I guess the question could be asked, when did the first Lamanite receive the priesthood?
In the summer of 1887, I was herding sheep up in Bedue Creek, which empties into the Weber River (Utah), just below the lower bridge. One day a little boy about nine to eleven years of age, came to my camp. He was very dirty and shabbily dressed and was very shy. I noticed he was watching me very closely as I busied myself preparing my dinner. I asked him if he was hungry. He did not answer me, but in a few minutes he went to the creek and went through the motions of washing his hands. When he came back to the camp I looked at him and smiled at him. I then told him I would let him have some soap and a wash basin so he could give his face and hands a good wash. He looked at his hands and smiled at me; took the articles mentioned and ran back to the creek. When he came back to me he was partly clean. When the dinner was ready I asked the blessing on it. The lad looked at me in wonder but as he did not speak a word I gave him a generous supply of fried potatoes, onions, lamb and bread. He ate it very quickly, got up and ran down the creek and was gone. In a few days he came again and made for the creek once more. This time he was not so shy. He gathered wood for the fire and brought water for the camp. He did not say a word until I had given him his dinner. Then he said very quietly, “Thank you.” I asked him where he came from. He just pointed down to the river. I asked his name. He said: “Jim,” and was gone again. He visited me several times. On one of his visits I asked him if he did not get enough to eat. His reply was: “Sometimes grandpa had some and sometimes he did not. Grandpa snares rabbits and catches fish but mostly his feet hurt him and he did not try.” I gave him flour and mutton to take home with him. The next day he came again and asked if I had coffee. “Grandpa wants some and some tobacco.” I explained to him that I did not use either one.
I decided that I would visit the grandfather. I found him in an abandoned cabin situated in a grove of aspens. He was not very friendly. The little boy told him I was the man that sent the food to him. Then he came and sat down on a bench outside the cabin. I noticed that he had several bad sores on his face and that his hands were wrapped in rags. I asked him his name but he did not answer. He finally told me he was from the east and had drifted west. I asked him if he was a timber man or a prospector. He said, no. Then I asked him what was his object in coming to Utah and up here in the Weber Canyon. He said: “I don’t know. I just drifted here and this cabin was empty so I decided to stay a spell.” After talking to him in a general way for a while I started to leave. He then asked me to give him some mutton tallow to put on his sores. I said, “Send the boy up and I will give him some.” I noticed that the lower part of one ear was gone, a part of the left side of his nose had rotted away, and there were other repulsive sores on his face. He showed me his hands. There was very little solid flesh on them. I expressed my sympathy for him and he said his feet were worse than his hands. I asked him what had caused all this trouble and he replied: “I don’t know unless it was a curse God had place on me.” He said some men had told him that was it, because he was with the men who killed Joe Smith, the Mormon Prophet. “I guess that is the main reason I drifted out here; I wanted to know how the Mormons made out without Joe Smith to lead them.”
N.B. Lundwall, The Fate of the Persecutors of the Prophet Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1952), 297-8.