What is considered to be one of the State of California's most important historical documents?
a. Sam Brennan’s journal entry of when the Brooklyn entered the San Francisco bay area
b. Henry William Bigler’s journal account of when gold was first discovered
c. Levi Hancock’s journal entry of when the Mormon Battalion reached San Diego
d. When the 1852 announcement on polygamy was first made in the state
From the life of Hiram Bowles Morris: Hiram Bowles Morris was third in a family of seven children. When about four years of age his parents moved to Illinois, then a frontier country, settling on a farm several miles from the town of Quincy. Here he grew to manhood’s estate, laboring on his father’s farm, and having but little schooling. He also learned the cooper trade, in which he became an expert, especially in the construction of buckets and tubs, for which there was great demand. In the spring of 1844 he made a trip to Nauvoo, Illinois, and was introduced to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Shaking hands, the Prophet asked him if he was a ‘Mormon.’ ‘No sir,’ was the reply. ‘But you will be,’ said the Prophet, laying his hand on his shoulder. Mr. Morris declared he felt as though an electric shock had passed through him. In 1849, when 27 years of age, the California ‘gold fever wave’ struck the community where he lived and a party of ten or twelve young men, including Hiram B. Morris, organized and equipped themselves for a trip across the plains to the ‘gold diggings.’ The company followed the route of the original pioneers, passing thought northern Utah, and pitched their camp on the Humboldt River, where they did their first placer mining. From a small crevice, Hiram B. Morris obtained over $500 in gold. They remained here about one week, and then followed the ‘lure of gold’ into the more renowned gold fields of California. Mr. Morris placer mined on the American and the Sacramento rivers and their tributaries for about two years, accumulating several thousand dollars in gold dust panned by his own hands. These were rough days, among rough men. The following incident illustrated the character of Mr. Morris: A young college tender foot named Jeff Netherton, arrived in the camp and partly by his superior air, became the butt of the other men, whose ‘jibes’ became more and more violent, until more serious line of manhandling, to begin with ‘ding-busting’ the young man. Hiram B. Morris decided that stepping between the man and the crowd, he protested. ‘What have you to do with it,’ they asked. ‘Everything,’ said he, and stripping his coat, and telling the young man to ‘stay behind him’ he prepared to defend him with all the strength of his splendid young manhood. Seeing that he meant business, wiser counsel finally prevailed, and the man escaped, but he never forgot the courage and bravery of the young man who saved him from the brutality of the mob. In returning to the States, via Panama and crossing the isthmus on a ‘burro train,’ he carried his gold dust in canvass bags, stored away in an old-fashioned carpet bag, which never allowed out of his sight. There were four in his party and they had only one coat, which was worn in turns at the table, as the table rules required a coat. On reaching port in New York they were surrounded by cab men who, recognizing them as miners from California determined to get them and their ‘sway.’ Whereupon Mr. Morris pulled an old revolver and waving them aside led his friend’s through these thugs to safety. He proceeded to his home at Quincy, Illinois, and on the 8th day of August, 1852, he married Eleanor Crawford Roberts, the daughter of Adenijah Roberts and Elizabeth Crawford. He purchased all of their household and kitchen furniture and supplies for starting housekeeping with ‘gold weighted out in dust.’ In the fall of 1859, his wife Eleanor had been converted to ‘Mormonism’ and was baptized into the Church’ but he had become somewhat prejudiced, owing to treatment accorded one of his sisters, by a ‘Mormon,’ who after marrying her had gone off and left her. In the spring of 1860, they started west, in Capt. Walling’s company. His intention was to go on to California, while his wife’s continual prayer was that they would get no farther than Salt Lake City, Utah. Arriving there in August, 1860, they had to lay over, being out of supplies, and Mr. Morris went to work immediately for Bishop Archibald Gardener. The wife begged Bro. Gardener to persuade her husband to go no farther, which he did to such good purpose that in October, 1861, Mr. Morris was baptized and had no desire to continue his journey.
Andrew Jensen, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, (Salt Lake City: Western Epics, 1971), 3: 462-463.