Sunday, May 7, 2017

Running from the “Mean White Squaw”

One day, while Bishop George Washington Bradley was coming home with Brigham Young, they happened across a native buck running as fast as he could in the opposite direction. Bishop Bradley stopped the native youth and asked him why the hurry. What did he state?
a.                  The Bishop’s wife wanted to shoot him
b.                  The Bishop’s wife wanted to scalp him
c.                   The Bishop’s wife wanted to cut his hair and clean him
d.                  The Bishop’s wife wanted him to chop firewood
Yesterday’s answer:
A.                  William Miller
From the life of William Miller:   The following noble and quite heroic episode of “Mormon” history is told in the “Life of Brigham Young:” “By the time we were at work in the Temple,’ says Pres. Young, ‘officiating in the ordinances, the mob learned that ‘Mormonism’ was not dead, as they supposed. We had completed the walls of the Temple, and the attic story from about half-way up of the first windows, in about fifteen months. It went up like magic, and we then commenced officiating in the ordinances. They the mob commenced to hunt for other victims; they had already killed the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum in Carthage jail, while under the pledge of the State for safety, and now they wanted Brigham, the president of the Twelve Apostles, who were then acting as the presidency of the Church. I was in my room in the Temple; it was the southeast corner of the upper story. I learned that a posse was lurking around the Temple, and that the United States marshal was waiting for me to come down, whereupon I knelt down and asked my Father in Heaven, in the name of Jesus, to guide and protect me, that I might live to prove advantageous to the Saints; I arose from my knees, and sat down in my chair. There came a rap at my door. ‘Come in,’ I said: and Brother George D. Grant, who was then engaged driving my carriage and doing chores for me, entered the room. Said he, ‘Brother Brigham, do you know that a posse and the United States marshal are here?’ I told him that I had heard so. On entering the room, Brother Grant left the door open. Nothing came into my mind as what to do until, looking across the hall, I saw Brother William Miller leaning against the wall. As I stepped towards the door I beckoned to him; he came. ‘Brother William, ‘I said, ‘the marshal is here for me; will you go and do just as I tell you? If you will, I will serve them a trick.’ I knew that Brother Miller was an excellent man, perfectly reliable, and capable of carrying out my project. ‘Here, take my cloak,’ said I; but it happened to be Brother Heber C. Kimball’s; our cloaks were alike in color, fashion and size. I threw it around his shoulders, and told him to wear my hat and accompany Brother George D. Grant. He did so. ‘George, you step in the carriage,’ said I to Brother Grant, ‘and look towards Brother Miller, and say to him as though you were addressing me,‘ are you ready to ride?’ You can do this, and they will suppose Brother Miller to be me, and proceed accordingly;’ which they did. Just as Brother Miller was entering the carriage, the marshal stepped up to him, and, placing his hand upon his shoulder, said, ‘You are my prisoner.’ Brother William entered the carriage, and said to the marshal, ‘I am going to the Mansion House, won’t you ride with me?’ They both went to the Mansion House. There were my sons Joseph A., Brigham jun., and Brother Heber C. Kimball’s boys and others, who were looking on, and all seemed at once to understand and participate in the joke. They followed the carriage to the Mansion House, and gathered around Brother Miller with tears in their eyes, saying, ‘Father,’ or, ‘President Young, where are you going?’ Brother Miller looked at them kindly, but made no reply; and the marshal really thought that he had got ‘Brother Brigham.’ Lawyer Edmonds, who was then staying at the Mansion House, appreciating the joke, volunteered to Brother Miller to go to Carthage with him, and see him safe through. When they arrived within two or three miles of Carthage, the marshal, with his posse, stopped. They arose in their carriages, buggies and wagons, and, like a tribe of Indians going to battle, or as if they were a pack of demons, yelling and shouting, exclaimed: ‘We’ve got him, we’ve got  him, we’ve got him!’ When they reached Carthage, the marshal took the supposed Brigham into an upper room of the hotel, and placed a guard over him, at the same time telling those around that he had got him. Brother Miller remained in the room until they bid him come to supper. While there, parties came in, and asked for Brigham. Brother Miller was pointed out to them. So it continued, until an apostate ‘Mormon,’ by the name of Thatcher, who had lived in Nauvoo, came in, sat down and asked the landlord where Brigham was. ‘That is Mr. Young,’ said the landlord, pointing across the table to Brother Miller. ‘Where? I can’t see any one that looks like Brigham,’ Thatcher replied. The landlord told him it was that fleshy man, eating. ‘Oh,--,’ exclaimed Thatcher, ‘that’s not Brigham’ that’s William Miller, one of my old neighbors.’ Upon hearing this the landlord went, and tapping the sheriff on the shoulder, took him a few steps to one side, and said: ‘You have made a mistake. That is not Brigham Young. It is William Miller, of Nauvoo.’ The marshal, very much astonished, exclaimed: ‘Good heavens! And he passed for Brigham.’ He then took Brother Miller into a room, and tuning to him, said: ‘What in h—l is the reason you did not tell my your name?’ ‘You have not asked me my name,’ Brother Miller replied. ‘Well, what is your name?’ said the sheriff, with another oath. ‘My name is William Miller.’ ‘I thought your name was Brigham Young. Do you say this for a fact?’ ‘Certainly I do,’ returned Brother Miller. ‘Then,’ said the marshal, ‘why did you not tell me that before?’ ‘I was under no obligations to tell you.’ Replied Miller. The marshal, in a rage, walked out of the room followed by Brother Miller, who walked off  in company with Lawyer Edmond’s, Sheriff Backenstos and others, who took him across lots to a place of safety; and this is the real birth of the story of ‘Bogus Brigham’ as far as I can recollect.” There is Brigham Young’s touch of irrepressible humor in the telling, but no man better than he understood the value of the service which William Miller had rendered him. By the noble and heroic act, of giving himself into custody and jeopardizing his own life, if he did onto save the life of Pres. Young, he most likely saved him from a long imprisonment and vexatious lawsuits. Truly is the man, who in times of danger offers himself for his fellow man, one of the noblest of his race. Grave threats were uttered against Miller, for imposing upon the officers in Brigham Young’s stead, and Sheriff Backenstos, fearing the anti-Mormons would kill him, hurried him off and took him safely back to Nauvoo that night by a circuitous route, arriving at five o’clock the next morning. Being sick at the time of the exodus, Elder Miller did not leave Nauvoo till May, 1846.

Andrew Jenson, L.D.S Biographical Encyclopedia (Salt Lake City: Publishers Press, 1901) Vol. 1,  482-484.

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