Friday, August 28, 2015

A Little Surprising

Bill Hickman, an aide to Brigham Young, had to destroy what in Winter Quarters?
a.                  A gambling ring
b.                  Decks of cards
c.                   A bootleggers still
d.                  A counterfeit press
Yesterday’s answer:
(C)   Members of the Jackson County mob
The following is an incident from the life of Wilford Woodruff.
     In the southern portion of Missouri and the northern part of Arkansas, in 1834, there were but very few inhabitants.
     We visited a place called Harmony Mission, on the Osage River, one of the most crooked rivers in the west. This mission was kept by a Presbyterian minister and his family.
     We arrived there on Sunday night at sunset. We had walked all day with nothing to eat, and were very hungry and tired. Neither the minister nor his wife would give us anything to eat, nor let us stay overnight, because we were “Mormons,” and the only chance we had was to go twelve miles farther down the river, to an Osage Indian trading-post, kept by a Frenchman named Jereu. And this wicked priest, who would not give us a piece of bread, lied to us about the road, and sent us across the swamp, and we wallowed knee deep in mud and water till ten o’clock at night in trying to follow this crooked river. We then left the swamp, and put out into the prairie, to lie in the grass for the night.
     When we came out of the swamp, we heard an Indian drumming on a tin pail and singing. It was very dark, but we traveled towards the noise, and when we drew near the Indian camp quite a number of large Indian dogs came out to meet us. They smelt us, but did not bark nor bite.
     We were soon surrounded by Osage Indians, and kindly received by Mr. Jereu and his wife, who was an Indian. She gave us an excellent supper and a good bed, which we were thankful for after the fatigue of the day.
     As I laid my head on the pillow I felt to thank God, from the bottom of my heart, for the exchange of the barbarous treatment of a civilized Presbyterian priest, for the humane, kind and generous treatment of the savage Osage Indians.
     May God reward them both according to their deserts.
     We arose in the morning, after a good night’s rest. I was somewhat lame, from wading in the swamp the night before. We had a good breakfast. Mr. Jereu sent an Indian to see us across the river, and informed us that it was sixty miles to the nearest settlement of either white or red men.
     We were too bashful to ask for anything to take with us to eat; so we crossed the river and started on our day’s journey of sixty miles without a morsel of food of any kind. What food of any kind. What for? To preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, to save this generation.
     We started about sunrise and crossed a thirty-mile prairie, apparently as level as a house floor, without shrub or water. We arrived at timber about two o’ clock in the afternoon. As we approached the timber a large black bear came out towards us. We were not afraid of him, for we were on the Lord’s business, and had not mocked God’s prophets as did the forty-two wicked children who said to Elisha, “Go up thou bald head,” for which they were torn by bears.
     When the bear got within eight rods of us he sat on his haunches and looked at us a moment, and then ran away; and we went on our way rejoicing. We had to travel in the night, which was cloudy and very dark, so we had great difficulty to keep the road. Soon a large drove of wolves gathered around, and followed us. They came very close, and at times it seemed as though they would eat us up.
     We had materials for striking a light, and at ten o’ clock, not knowing where we were, and the wolves becoming so bold, we thought it wisdom to make a fire: so we ground, and lit them, and as our fire began to burn the wolves left us.
     As we were about to lay down on the ground—for we had no blankets—we heard a dog bark.
     My companion said it was a wolf; I said it was a dog; but soon we heard a cow bell. Then we each took a firebrand and went about a quarter of a mile, and found the house, which was sixty miles from where we started that morning.
     It was an old log cabin, about twelve feet square, with no door, but an old blanket was hung up in the door—way. There was no furniture except one bedstead, on which lay a woman, several children and several small dogs. A man lay on the bare floor with his feet to the fire-place, and all were asleep. I went in and spoke to the man, but did not wake him. I stepped to him, and laid my hand on his shoulder. The moment he felt the weight of my hand he jumped to his feet, and ran around the room as though he was frightened; but he was quieted when we informed him we were friends.
     The cause of his fright was, he had shot a panther a few nights before, and he thought its mate had jumped upon him.
     He asked us what we wanted; we told him we wished to stop with him all night, and would like something to eat. He informed us we might lay on the floor as he did, but that he had not a mouthful for us to eat, as he had to depend on his gun to get breakfast for his family in the morning. So we lay on the bare floor, and slept through a long, rainy night, which was pretty hard after walking sixty miles without anything to eat. That was the hardest day’s work of my life.
     The man’s name was Williams. He was in the mob in Jackson County; and after the Saints were driven out, he, with many others, went south.
     We got up in the morning and walked in the rain twelve miles to the house of a man named Bemon, who was also one of the mob from Jackson County. They were about sitting down to breakfast as were came in.
     In those days it was the custom of the Missourians to ask you to eat even if they intended to cut your throat as soon as you got through; so he asked us to take breakfast, and we were very glad of the invitation.
     He knew we were “Mormons,” and as soon as we began to eat he began to swear about the “Mormons.” He had a large platter, of bacon and eggs, and plenty of bread on the table, and his swearing did not hinder our eating, for the harder he swore the harder we ate, until we got our stomachs full; then we arose from the table, took our hats, thanked him for our breakfast, and the last we heard of him he was still swearing.
     I trust the Lord will reward him for our breakfast.

Wilford Woodruff, Three Mormon Classics:The Leaves of My Journal (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988), 14-18.

No comments:

Post a Comment