Thursday, June 25, 2009

John W. Hess Autobiography

John W. HessMy father, Jacob Hess, was born in Franklin County, Penn., on May 21, 1792. In 1816 he married Elizabeth Foutz, who was born in Franklin County, Penn., on June 4, 1797. The names of their children are as follows:

Catherine - born Sept. 10, 1817, Franklin Co., Pa.
Polly - born June 27, 1819, Franklin Co., Pa.
Mary Ann – born Aug. 11, 1821, Franklin Co., Pa.
John W. - born Aug. 24, 1824, Franklin Co., Pa.
Died Dec. 16, 1903 Farmington, Davis, Utah
Sarah - born Feb. 22, 1827, Franklin Co., Pa.
Ann Elizabeth – born Mar. 24, 1829, Franklin Co., Pa.
Christena - born May 11, 1831, Franklin Co., Pa.
Harriet - born Aug 18, 1833, Richland Co., Ohio
Lydiann - born July 24, 1835, Richland Co., Ohio
David - born Feb. 18, 1837, Ray Co., Mo.
Alma - born June 3, 1839, Ray Co., Mo.
Emma - born May 17, 1841, Adams Co., Ill.

John W. Hess and Emeline Bigler family group sheet with photos of children

Link: "John W. Hess and Emeline Bigler" Researched or written by Chuck Hess, Dr. Harold C. Bateman,,Edited by Ron Bateman

In 1832, my Father moved to Richland Co., Ohio, and located on a piece of heavy timber land, cleared a piece of ground and opened a small farm, and the prospects for a better living were quite flattering, considering the many difficulties consequent to a new country.

In March, 1834, my Father, Mother, three eldest sisters and myself, were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; previous to this we lived in peace with our neighbors, but soon after we were baptized our neighbors began to speak evil of, and persecute us in various ways.

About May 1, 1836, my Father and his family moved to the State of Missouri and settled in Ray County of that State, near Pomerroy’s Ferry, or Richmond Landing, on the Missouri River, where we lived on a farm which we rented from John Arbuckle, until the expulsion of the Saints from Caldwell County, then with them we removed to the State of Illinois and settled in Hancock County of that State. Here my Father again settled on a piece of wild land, and in our extreme poverty we began to open a farm, and after much privation and toil, we succeeded in getting a comfortable home.
The many years of labor and hardships that my Father has passed through caused his health to fail, and I was the only boy in the family, therefore, the greater part of the labor devolved upon me.

In the meantime I had bought forty acres of land for myself and had made some improvement during the fall of 1844, and during the spring and summer of 1845 I was putting up a hewed log house, while the mobs were burning the Saints’ possessions in Morley’s Settlement, near Lima, in Hancock County, but I continued to labor with my might until the violence of the mob was so great that we did not feel safe in remaining on our farm longer; so we moved to the City of Nauvoo and occupied a part of the house belonging to Bishop Foutz, my Mother’s brother. We had left most of our supplies on the farm at Bear Creek, and before we had time to get them away, they were destroyed by the mob, and we were again left almost destitute.
In November, 1845, my Father was stricken down with a shock of paralysis and lost the use of one side, which rendered him entirely helpless.

John W Hess and Emeline Bigler endowment document
Nauvoo Temple Endowment Record of John W. Hess and Eveline Bigler

In the meantime, I married Emeline Bigler, who was born in Harrison County, Virginia, August 20, 1824. At this time the word went forth among the people that the church would leave Nauvoo in the spring. One may well imagine the situation we were in, to start on such a journey, when we had been robbed of nearly all of our substance, and my poor Father lying helpless in bed, but it being the only alternative to get away from the fury of the mob, I began to gather up what I had and commenced to get together an outfit, and the best I could do was to rig up two old wagons and two yoke of oxen, one of which was my own personal property. I arranged one of these wagons with a bed cord for my Father to lie upon, as he could not sit up. It took one entire wagon for his convenience, and then it was poor enough. This left one wagon to be drawn by one yoke of oxen to carry the outfit for the entire family – eight in number – while all the family had to walk every step of the way, rain or shine. But notwithstanding all these difficulties, we fixed up the best we could an on the 3rd day of April, 1846 we started, crossed the Mississippi River and camped on the Iowa side the first night, in a drenching rain.

April 4th. We started on the wearisome journey, but with our heavy loads and the incessant rain that continued to fall, our progress was very slow, -- the best we could do we could only travel from five to eight miles per day. As my Father occupied one of the wagons, the rest of the family had no shelter only what they could get by crawling under the wagons, and much of the time we were obligated to cut brush to lay on the ground to keep our beds out of the water. Women and children walked through the mud, water, wet grass, and waded many of the streams so that their clothes were never dry on them for weeks and months until we reached the place called Mount Pisgah, in the western part of Iowa. Here the advance companies of the Pioneers had planted corn and vegetables for the benefit of those who should come afterwards. We concluded to stop at this place for a time as our limited supplies were about exhausted and my Father was some much worse that it was impossible to move him any further, so we constructed a temporary shelter of bark which we peeled off from the elm trees that grew in the vicinity; this was about the 15th of June, 1846.

Word had gone out that President Young would fit out a company to go to the Rocky Mountains that season to locate a settlement and put in grain the next season for the benefit of themselves and those that would come the following season.
Seeing that I could do nothing where I was, I concluded to take my own team and what I had, and go to council Bluffs, 130 miles distance, where the Church Authorities were then stopping. So I made my Father’s family as comfortable as I could with the limited facilities I was in possession of, and taking my wife and my own team and little outfit, bade the rest of the family goodbye and started, traveling in Henry W. Miller’s Company.

We were overtaken one evening about dark by Captain Allen, who was accompanied by a guard of five dragoons, of the regular United States Army, all of whom camped with us for the night. The object of their visit soon became apparent by questions asked by them: via., that they were sent to see if the “Mormon” people could and would respond to a call for five hundred men to help fight the battles of the United States against Mexico. This indeed was unexpected news; while the people of the State of Illinois had driven us out, and while we were scattered on the prairie of western Iowa with nothing, in many instances, but the canopy of heaven for a covering, to be called on under these circumstances for 500 of the strength of the camps of Israel, seemed cruel and unjust indeed, but such was the case, notwithstanding.

We arrived at Council Bluffs about the tenth day of July and found that four companies had been enlisted and organized. I was advised by George A. Smith and others to enlist, and after considering the matter, I concluded to do so, and was enlisted in Company “E”, Captain Daniel C. Davis. My wife, Emeline, also enlisted, as the Government had provided for four women to each company of 100 men to go as laundresses.
I left my team wagon and little outfit with my brother-in-law, D.A. Miller, to be brought on the next year, as the Government had provided two six-mule teams to each company. I was solicited to drive one team, and for the comfort and convenience of my wife I consented to do so, and many times I was thankful that I had done so, as these teams had to haul the camp equipment which consisted of tents, tent-poles, camp-kettles, etc., which filled the wagons up to the bows, and the women would have to crawl in as best they could handle in that position until we stopped for camp, and as I had the management of the loading, I could make the situation and comfort of my wife much better. For this and other reasons that I will not mention, I was glad that I was a teamster.

Map of Mormon Battalion March
About the 20th day of July, we took up our line of march for Fort Leavenworth. About this time I heard of my Father’s death, which took place on the 22nd day of June, 1846, at the place I had left him, and inasmuch as he could not recover, I was thankful to God that He had relieved him of his sufferings, although it was a dark hour for my poor Mother to be in – left in such a desolate and sickly place without her natural protector; and with four small children and nothing to live on.
In due time we arrived in Fort Leavenworth, where we received our outfit of clothing, provisions, arms and ammunition. We remained here about two weeks, after which we started on our march to Santa Fe, a distance of one thousand miles; a very tedious march, to be performed on foot, much of the distance with very little water or grass, with dry buffalo chips for fuel. We passed over one desert, eighty miles across; the only means of carrying water was in canteens holding two quarts each, one of which was carried by each man. A great many of the men gave out by the way and had to be helped in by others, the stronger carrying water back to their comrades.

Finally we reached Santa Fe, but during this time General Kearney was fighting the Mexicans in Upper California and was about to be over-powered by them, so he sent an express to Santa Fe to have the men of the Battalion inspected by the doctor, and all the able-bodied men fitted out and put on a forced march to go to his relief, and all the sick and disabled and all the women to be sent back.

Then came one of the greatest tests of my life; it happened in this wise: I had been a teamster all the way and had proved that I could take good care of a team and was a careful driver, and as Captain Davis had his family with him, and also his own private team, he wanted me to drive it for him, but the intention was to send my wife back with the detachment of sick men; this I could not consent to and retain my manhood. I remonstrated with Captain Davis, but to no purpose. I could not make any impression on him. I told him I would gladly go and drive the team if he would let my wife go along, but he said there was no room in the wagon. Then I told him that I would not go and leave my wife – I would die first. This was a bold assertion for a Private to make to his Captain, but the emergency seemed to demand it. There were many others in the command who were in the same situation that I was, who had their wives with them and wanted to go back with them but had not the courage to make a fuss about it.

By this time I had done all that I could with the officers of the Battalion, but they either could not or would not do anything for me, so I resolved to go and see General Doniphan, the Commander of the Post. I asked John Steel to go with me, he being in the same situation as myself. We went to the Colonel’s Quarters, found the Orderly at the door, asked permission to see the Colonel, and with our hats under our arms we entered and called his attention to our business. He informed me in a very stern matter that it was reported to him that the men who had women there wanted to go on and let their women go back, and in accordance therewith, provisions had been drawn for the Battalion and for the Detachment, and there could be no change made. I told him that we had not been consulted in the matter; he told us to leave the Quarters, gruffly remarking that he had left his wife. I thought I would venture one more remark, which was “Colonel”, I suppose you left your wife with friends, while we are required to leave ours in an enemy’s country in care of a lot of sick, demoralized men.” This seemed to touch a sympathetic cord; he called very sharply, “Orderly! Orderly! Go up to the command and bring adjutant George P. Dikes.” I whispered to Steel, “The spell is broken’ let’s go.”

In a short time Adjutant Dikes returned to the Command and climbed upon the top of the hind wheel of the wagon, shouting at the top of his voice: “Oh! Oh! All you men who have wives here can go back with them. I have seen men going about crying enough to melt the heart of a crocodile, so I went to the Colonel and had it arranged.” I said, “You hypocritical liar; you will take the credit that belongs to others.” This remark he did not hear, but, however, the object was accomplished, and in a short time the Battalion was on the move west, and the Detachment on the move east by northeast.

The Detachment was composed of all the men who had become disabled through the long march which they had performed on foot. Their outfit of teams was composed of given-out broken-down oxen that had been used in freighting supplies of the Government across the plains and were not fit for any kind of efficient service, so the compared very well with the majority of the men. Our rations or provisions were very good in quality, but very short as to the quantity, the Post of Santa Fe being very short of provisions at this time. Also after we had gotten on the move, we found we had only three-fourths rations of flour, and every thing else in proportion, such as beans sugar, coffee, pork, and rice, with the difficulties mentioned above, together with the fact that we were only allowed the time to reach Fort Bent that a lot of able-bodied men would be allowed to make the same journey in. Our slow traveling soon put us on half-rations as eight miles per day was the best we could do. We had a lot of beef cattle, but they compared favorably with the rest of the outfit, so poor that many of them gave out by the way. Great economy had to be used by killing the poorest first; the reader can imagine that the quantity of the beef was limited.

As usual, on the march I had charge of a team, but instead of six-mule-team it was a team of four yoke of poor oxen – quite a contrast our progress being so slow that we were put on quarter-rations in order to make them hold out until we should reach Fort Bent. It seemed as if we had gone about as far as we could go, when one morning, after the guard had driven the oxen into camp, it was found that there were thirty head of stray oxen in the herd, all of them in good condition. Captain Brown gave orders to distribute them in the teams of the Detachment, and with such an addition of strength to our teams, we got along fine. About noon, however, there came to our camp two men on horseback inquiring for the stray oxen. Captain Brown told them that if they had any cattle in his company, they could take them out. They replied that each teamster only knew his own team. After examining our teams they claimed and took but four of the thirty stray oxen. This still left us with thirteen yoke of fresh cattle, which we considered a divine interposition of the kind hand of God in our behalf, as it seemed about the only chance for deliverance from starvation.

In due time we reached Fort Bent and exchanged our dilapidated outfit for a new one, with a full supply of rations for the winter, which seemed to put an end to all our troubles. We moved up the Arkansas River seventy-five miles to a place then called Pueblo, where we put up houses for the winter. These houses were constructed of cottonwood logs split in halves and the pieces all joined together in the form of a stockade. Here we passed the winter in drilling and hunting and having a good time generally.

It was then about seven months since we had received any pay; so Captain Brown concluded to go to Santa Fe with the pay roll of the Detachment and draw our wages. He took a guard of ten men, of which I was one, with him. We started about the last day of February, and had a high range of mountains to cross; called the Ratton Range. We encountered a great deal of snow, at times we had to tramp the snow for miles so our pack animals could walk over it, but in the due time we arrived at Santa Fe. The money was drawn, and we started on our return trip, got back to our quarters at Pueblo about the first of April, and found spring weather. We began at once to prepare for our march.

About the 15th of April, 1847, we started due north for Fort Laramie, three hundred miles distant, on the California road, at which place we expected to find or hear of the Pioneer Company that was expected to fit out and go to find a location for the Saints but on our way we were met by Amasa Lyman and others who had come from the Pioneers’ Camp. This was a happy meeting, and to get news of our loved ones greatly relieved our anxieties, as we then learned that the Camp was ahead of us, led by President Brigham Young, and he led by revelation. So we pushed on with fresh courage and finally struck their trail about two weeks ahead of us. We followed their trail, but did not overtake them as we expected to. The pioneers reached Salt Lake Valley July 24th, and the Detachment on the 28th, of July 1847, and on the same day we were discharged from the service of the United States, and I became a free man once more.

Mormon Battalion Monument sculpture by Ed FraughtonMormon Battalion Monument sculpture by Ed Fraughton

I feel that the year’s service described above, is one of the noblest and grandest acts of my life, for the reason that Israel was on the alter of sacrifice, and the “Mormon Battalion”, of which I was a member, went as the “Ram in the Thicket”, and Israel was saved.

I was now in a country that was untried, and one thousand miles from where any supplies could be obtained, with only the outfit of a discharged soldier, which consisted of a small tent, a sheet-iron camp kettle, a mess pan, two tin plates, two spoons, two knives and forks, a pair of blankets badly worn, two old quilts, ten pounds of flour, and my dear, precious wife Emeline, who had been with me through all of my trials and hardships and had endured them all without a murmur. God bless her memory – had it not been for her noble spirit to comfort me, I think many times I should have almost despaired, because of the gloomy outlook, I concluded a faint heart would not buy a baby a frock (although we were not blessed with one at that time) and began to get out house logs to put up a shelter for the winter.

I went in partners with Jim Beyin and put up a whip saw-pit, and began to turn out lumber, and as there was none except what was sawed by hand, I found ready sale for mine as fast as I could make it, which was slow, one hundred feet being all we could turn out in a day. In this way I managed to recruit our indigent circumstances and was able to get a little bread-stuff, corn meal at twelve and one half cents per pound and flour at twenty-five cents per pound. We got along all right during the winter. In the spring we moved out on Mill Creek, and I began to put in what seed-grain I had. Which was very limited; this, of course, cut off the bread supply. Then began our want of food. Through the winter we dug what we called “Thistle Roots”, but by this time they began to leaf out, which spoiled the root. We then resorted to the tops, gathered and cooked in salt and water. This with some buttermilk, (which I begged of Jim Brinkerhoof and carried one and a half miles), was all we had to eat for two months.

During this time, an other very discouraging circumstance took place; the crickets made their appearance in countless numbers and attacked our grain crops. We fought them until we found that we were about over-powered, when very providentially, the seagulls came and completely devoured the crickets, so the balance of our crops matured, and our pending starvation’s was averted.

On the 9th day of September, 1848, I started back to Council Bluffs after my Mother and her children (whom I had left at Pisgah), as they had no means to come out with. I arrived at Council Bluffs on the 2nd day of November, rested a few days, and then continued my journey to Pisgah, one hundred and thirty miles distant, where I found my Mother and her family all alive and well. It was joyful meeting. I stopped with them a few days to arrange for the move in the spring, then went back to the Bluffs to try to get work for the winter, as I was very short of means to accomplish so great an undertaking. I engaged to work for Apostle Orson Hyde for twenty dollars a month. I worked one month, and then the weather got so severe that out-door work stopped, then I was out of employment the rest of the winter.

In the Spring I took all the means I had and bought with it a wagon and a yoke of oxen, hitched them up and went down to Pisgah to bring Mother’s family as far as the “Bluffs”, not knowing where the rest of the outfit would come from; but another interposition of kind Providence - - When I got back I found the country swarming with emigrants on their way to the gold fields of California. On finding that I had come over the road, they hired me for a guide, giving me Two Hundred Dollars in cash in advance. This was truly a blessing from the Lord that I had not thought of. I was now enabled to get the rest of my outfit. About the 15th day of April, 1849, we started, but a difficulty soon made it’s appearance that my emigrant friends had not thought of – they had horse teams with light loads, while I had an ox team with a heavy load, so that I could not travel as fast or as far in a day as they could. They would put me in the lead, and I would urge my team on and make as far as I could to try to give them satisfaction. I kept this up until they saw that my oxen began to fail and would soon give out, then they went on and left me. They served me a trick that the devil never did, but I felt quite relieved, as I could then travel to suit myself, which I did, taking time to hunt the best feed, and my team soon began to recruit.

On the 27th day of July, I again arrived in Salt Lake Valley, having accomplished one more magnanimous act by bringing my dear Mother and her four children to the home of the Saints. I found my dear wife Emeline well, and with her first child in her arms, which had been born January 6, 1848, while I was away, the land I had the year before was given to other parties, so I went north to a place afterwards called Farmington and located there. In the meantime, Daniel A. Miller came out a brought my team and wagon with its contents, which I had left with him two years before when I went into the Battalion. With this and the outfit which I had brought with me, I felt quite well fixed to what I had been. As it was the council for the people to settle close together for mutual protection, I could only get twenty acres of land; but bought more afterwards, as opportunity would afford.

On the 30th day of March, 1852, I married Emily Card (No.2), who was born in the State of Maine, September 27, 1831. She was the mother of ten children.
In March, 1855, I was ordained a Bishop by president Brigham Young, and set apart to preside over the Farmington Ward, and presided over said ward twenty-seven successive years.
On the 16th day of November, 1856 I married Julia Peterson (No.3), who was born in Norway, September 29, 1837. She is the mother of four children.
In March, 1857, I married Mary Ann Steed (No.4), who was born in England, November 27, 1837. She is the mother of ten children.

In 1858, I was elected to the Utah Legislature; was elected again in 1860 for two years, or two terms.

On the 31st day of January, 1862, my much beloved wife Emeline died of premature child birth. This was one of the greatest trials of my life, as she was the wife of my youth and had been with me through all of our poverty and trials of life which we had passed through. She died as she had lived, a faithful wife, a devoted mother, and a true Latter-Day Saint. She was the mother of ten children.

On the 25th day of April, 1862, I married Caroline Workman (No.5), who was born in the State of Tennessee, March 28, 1846. She is the mother of ten children.

On the 30th day of May 1868, I married Sarah Lovina Miller (No.6), who was born in Farmington, Utah June 24, 1850. She is the mother of nine children.

On the 4th day of August 1872, my beloved wife Emily Card died after giving birth to her tenth child. This was another great trial to me, and to have a lot of little children left without a mother. She died as she had lived, a kind mother, a dutiful wife, and a faithful Latter-Day Saint.

On the 28th day of July, 1875, I married Frances Marion Bigler (No.7), who was born in Farmington, Utah, October 22, 1859. She is the mother of eleven children.

In 1876, I was re-elected to the Utah Legislature. I was Colonel, commanding the Militia of Davis County for many years, but when Governor Harding issued his famous proclamation making it an offence to bear arms, I was relieved from that responsibility.

About this time President Young called me to a mission with some Laminates located a Washakie, in the northern part of Box Elder County. I have been engaged more or less ever since in directing that people.

In September, 1882, I was called by President John Taylor and set apart to be the First Councilor to the President of the Davis Stake of Zion, which had been previously organized.
On the 17th day of March 1885 the people of Farmington prepared a feast for me at the Social Hall to manifest their kindly feelings and a proper appreciation of the long faithful labor that I had performed during the twenty-seven years of my Bishopric. In this feast nearly the entire ward participated. As a token of the good feeling of the people, I was presented with a bust of President Young and a set of book, the Church Works. The evening was spent in speaking, toasts and dancing.

November 20, 1869. Today I started on a mission to the place of my birth, Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Took the Union Pacific cars at Uintah, Weber County, Utah; started at 2 p.m. and traveled over much of the road at a rapid rate; much of it I had traveled over twice before – once with pack animals and once with ox team. The present mode of travel compared with pack animals or ox teams, seemed a very great contrast – a very great improvement.

The railroad runs over much of the route that we traveled in coming to this country, and gave ample opportunity to reflect upon the hardships we endured in the slow progress we made, fifteen miles per day on an average being all that we could do, in many instances. In gliding so rapidly and easily over many places that I could remember that I had passed in the depths of poverty, with lean, almost given-out animals, when I looked on such places and in my mind made the contrast between the two circumstances, I could but exclaim, “Oh, the goodness of our God!” and she many a tear of joy and gratitude to the Lord for His mercy to me.

I forgot to state that at the time I was called on this mission, there were two hundred other Elders called to different parts of the United States. We all traveled on the same train in four palace cars, had an enjoyable time crossing the plains, and in due time reached Omaha, on the Missouri River; there we separated, each one going on the route best suited to him.

I took the Northwestern Railway to Chicago. At Cedar Rapids, Iowa, I got off to visit my cousin, David M. Secrist, who lived near that place. I visited with him a few days then continued my journey to Chicago, where I took the Chicago, Fort Wayne and Pittsburg Railroad, and the Pennsylvania Central to Harrisburg; there I switched off on the Cumberland Valley Railway to Green Castle, in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At that place I found a dear aunt, Mrs. Riley a sister of my dear Mother. The family had heard of my coming and met me with open arms, and made me very welcome. I felt very much at home here, indeed; I made it my home much of the time while I was in the country. Mrs. Riley was so much like my dear Mother that I loved her as a mother. She also had a lovely family. I preached the Gospel to them and made a favorable impression, but the prejudice at that time ran very high and our doctrine was very unpopular, and the time of my stay was short. They put off obeying the Gospel, but nearly the entire families have since died, and while I was with them I got their names and ages, and a few years ago I did work for them in the Logan Temple.

My object in going East at that time was to preach the Gospel to the living if they wanted to hear it, and get genealogy of the dead. The former I succeeded in very poorly, as the living did not care to hear; the genealogy of the dead was very meager, as they had failed to keep a record, and the only way that I could get the names and ages of the dead was to go to the cemeteries and obtain them from the stones that marked their last resting places, as my people had been very particular in keeping the record on the head-stones. In visiting the graves in both public and private burying places, I got all the names I could — perhaps fifty in all – and have done work for them in the Logan Temple.

I found all my relatives on my Father’s side of the house all well off, with a few exceptions. The old people came and settled in Franklin County, Pennsylvania in an early day when it was new, possessed themselves of the country, and having good staying qualities, made themselves well to do. The old people – my Father’s brothers and sisters – with a few exceptions, are dead, and their children are in possession of the country, which is hard to excel. This is the situation I found them in, and all of them belonging to some kind of religion peculiar to their own notions, and being much prejudiced against “Mormonism” they did not care to listen to me.

February 15, 1870. Because of pressing business at home, I had spent about all the time that I could spare, and having secured all the genealogy that I could get at that time, I bade farewell to all of my dear friends, and on the the16th day of February, 1870, I left Green Castle on my return trip over the same road that I came; arrived in Harrisburg the same day, here I bought a ticket, which cost me $70.00. I left Harrisburg at 4 o’clock for Pittsburg. In due time I arrived in Chicago safely, and on quick time; here I took the Northwestern Railway for Cedar Rapids, stopped to see cousin David M. Secrist, visited with him; then went on the train to Omaha, where I arrived on the 22nd of February. I left Omaha, February 23rd and on the 25th I arrived in Ogden. I also reached my home the same day and found all well. I had been gone about three months, and felt well satisfied with my visit to the place I was born.

September 15, 1887. I left my place a Plymouth, Box Elder County, Utah, at 12 o’clock noon, went to Logan, and there joined Bishop Zundel and two Lamanites, John and Jim Brown, and secured a part of our outfit, consisting of one baggage wagon, two work horses, two riding horses, two horses and a buggy. I furnished horses and buggy, the Church furnished baggage wagon, Bishop Zundel furnished two horses to pull the wagon, and the Lamanites furnished riding horses.

The object of this mission was to carry a lot of presents to Chief Washakie, who was camped on the east side of the Wind River Range of mountains, now in the State of Wyoming. The presents consisted of five hundred pounds of dried fruit, one bale of blankets, shirts, underwear, and silk handkerchiefs in great numbers and varieties.

September 16. We left Logan City, traveled up Logan Canyon, found the country very rocky but the road good considering the country that it passes through; camped for the night, having had no accident through the day.

September 17. Traveled up the Canyon, reached top of divide about noon; in Dean's Hill got a lot of pine hens and had our first feast of wild meat, which we enjoyed very much. Traveled down the east side of the mountains to Garden City, thence up the Bear Lake shore to Laketown; camped for the night with Bishop Nebeker. Bear Lake is the most beautiful sheet of water that I have ever seen --- water as clear as crystal and gravelly bottom at a great depth. We obtained a supply of oats for the horse feed.

September 18. We started this morning at 8 o’clock, crossed over a ridge and traveled down grade to bear River; found it almost dry; traveled across the country to the mouth of Twin Creeks where we struck the Oregon Short Line Railway. There we camped for the night and had our first feast of Mountain Trout, John having secured a fine string of them.

September 19. Started at 8 o’clock; traveled up Twin Creeks, also up the Oregon Short Line Railroad, which comes down the Creeks, the wagon road crosses the railroad nineteen times, very dangerous in places, just room enough for the wagon to pass when there is no train a that time; camped at the tunnel on the summit of the ridge. This tunnel is 800 feet through. Started at 2 o’clock, traveled over the ridge down to Ham’s Fork, went up Ham's Fork for three miles, camped for the night. There we saw the first antelope, which were very wild and not come-at-able.

September 20. Started at 8 o’clock; traveled over some very steep hills; struck the Lander Road which used to be one of the main roads that the gold seekers traveled to California by the way of Fort Hall. We struck a very steep hill, almost perpendicular, hitched both saddle horses to the end of the wagon tongue and pulled by the horns of the saddles; traveled down the hill to Fontinell, near Green River, and camped the night.
September 21. Started at 7:30, passed over some rough, Hilly country on to the Green River, then up Green River 13 miles to a beautiful stream called LaBarge; noon halt, started out at 1 o’clock, traveled 24 miles up the river, good roads, camped for the night on river bottom, good grass.

September 22. Broke camp at 8:30, crossed both Pineys, beautiful streams of water, wide bottoms, good meadow land by the thousands of acres; antelope in large herds but very wild; traveled over a ridge due north, struck Marsh Creek, caught some nice Mountain Trout; waited for baggage wagon to come up; then we found we had taken the wrong route and gone out of our way. Started at two o’clock, traveled over High Cobble Stone Ridge to the fork of Green River; this is the main fork of Green River, a large stream of beautiful clear water.

September 23. We have gotten out of our way; went for 10 miles down the river, struck the trail, traveled due east over Large Cobble Stone Ridge down on the east fork of Green River; this fork has a great amount of water in it at some seasons of the year, but low at present. Noon halt; at 2 o’clock started up the river; hereafter must travel without a road through heavy sage brush; made slow progress across the bottom to river, and camped for the night.

September 24. The mountains to the northeast begin to look very high and difficult to cross. At 3:30 broke camp and climbed over hills, washouts, and sage brush; difficult to travel; made slow progress; bet some Indians who informed us that Chief Washakie had gone on a hunt; not likely to see him; camped for the night.

Sunday, September 25. Camped about twenty-five miles from the foot of the mountains; are told the mountains are very difficult to cross over to Chief Washakie's camp; considering this, with the fact that we could not see him if we did cross, we concluded to send an Indian over and ask the chief men of the camp to send a delegation over to receive the presents. We were in camp waiting for them to return. The Indians in that vicinity who were hunting, began to gather into our camp, and we held meetings with them, preaching the Gospel to them, and a number of them became converted and demanded baptism.

September 27. Still in camp waiting for the messenger to return; health good, appetite good, and conscious that we are in no immediate danger from our enemies that we had left so far in the rear in Utah, the Anti-Mormon raid being in full blast when we left.

September 28. This morning our express men returned with Chief Washakie’s son and three other of the principal men of the tribe. Dick Washakie, a son, is a noble looking man, about 6 feet 4 inches tall, well proportioned, speaks good English, about 25 years old, well dressed in the American style, fine gentlemanly appearance and must sooner or later be a great leader among his people.

After greetings and breakfast were over, we all sat down, had prayer, John Indian being mouth, after which Bishop Zundel preached to the Lamanites that had gathered in – twenty in number; talked about one hour. John preached next. Jim Brown followed, after which I bore a powerful testimony and prophesied of the future of that people; much of the spirit of the Lord was enjoyed. After several meetings, the Lamanites all asked to be baptized, which was attended to with much pleasure. Bishop Zundel did the baptizing and I did the confirming. After we had gotten through with the ordinance of baptism, the presents were delivered, and after a hearty handshaking we separated from our kind friends; the Lamanites going east and we south-west on our return trip; traveled ten miles through sage and greasewood and camped for the night. Jim killed an antelope, which was very acceptable, as we had had very little meat on our trip so far.

September 29. This morning we baptized four more Indians – two men and two women. Broke camp at nine o’clock and traveled over to Green River; camped for noon, and traveled over a ridge to Piney’s two fine streams of water; meadow and farm land in abundance; camped for the night.

September 30. Broke camp at seven o’clock traveling up the largest piney, much of the time in the middle of the stream; very rough canyon and very difficult pass over several high ranges; traveled until after dark down a steep mountainside, almost perpendicular; camped on the creek in a narrow gorge.

October 1. Had now gotten through the range of mountains, sixty miles distant, and were at the head of Star Valley; traveled down the valley to the mouth of Salt River, camped for the night.
October 2. Laying over to rest the horses; started at noon up Salt River, and camped for the night near the Summit.
October 3. Started at 7 o’clock, traveled down creek; camped.
October 4. Started at 7 o’clock; came out of the canyon and reached Montpelier, noon half at Amasa Wright's place, fed, got dinner, then traveled to Georgetown; stopped for the night with Nicholas Barkdall, my brother-in-law, were treated royally.
October 5. Started at 7 o’clock; nooned at Soda Springs, started at 2 o’clock; camped for the night with Serl Hale; were treated to the best his house afforded.
October 6. Started at 7 o’clock; came over the ridge, camped at Church Farm, fed, got dinner, broke camp at 1 o’clock; traveled to Weston Creek, fed, lunched and then we separated, Bishop Zundel and the Lamanites crossing the range of hills into Malad Valley, and I going by way of Clarkston and reaching home at nine o’clock; found all well; had traveled sixty miles on this the last day, and about seven hundred miles on the entire journey.

I thank and praise the Lord, who has had His kind and preserving care over us while fulfilling this mission of peace to one of the largest friendly tribes of Indians in this part of the country.

Ogden City, Utah, November 23, 1895. This morning, in company with Ezra T. Clark, John R. Barnes, and Ephraim P. Elleson, I left for Omaha, Nebraska, to attend the Trans-Mississippi Congress to be held at that place on the 25th of said month. We crossed the plains of a thousand miles without an accident. I passed my first night in a Pullman palace sleeping car, and with all of its grandeur in appearance, I could not sleep; two men in one berth is one too many for comfort; the car being very warm. Arrived in Omaha about 8:30 and took the street car to the Millard Hotel. This Hotel was selected as the head-quarters of the members; charges $3.00 per day. We had first-class fare and two good rooms for our accommodation; all of the accommodations there were on the modern plan, first-class style, with colored waiters, who were very polite.

November 26. Held three sessions today. All the members were invited to a reception given by a gentleman whose name I have forgotten; we were royally treated to all kinds of drinkables, also candy and ice cream.

November 27. Held one session. In the afternoon the members went in body, by invitation, to visit the Omaha Smelter where they reduce silver and lead ore to bullion, from there it is shipped to Wales, and there refined; a great amount of business is done there. The same afternoon we took the street car five miles to South Omaha to visit the stockyards and slaughter houses, a great amount of slaughtering and packing is done here. After looking through the mammoth establishment we went back to the Hotel.

November 28. Thanksgiving Day. Crossed the bridge over the Missouri River, went to Council Bluffs, held meeting with a small branch of the Church presided over by Robert Huntington; had Thanksgiving dinner; had a good time after dinner went back to Omaha; took the street car, went three miles up the River towards Florence (once Winter Quarters) then back to the Hotel; had supper, packed our grips, and got the lunch basket recruited. Union Depot.

November 29 At 8:10 we took the train for Ogden, securing our berths in the Pullman sleeper, “Susanna”. Cold north wind blowing.

Green River - November 30. 8:15. Green River was once a thriving railroad town when the road was being built, but now it is dilapidated.

Echo - November 30 Had a pleasant trip, were favored with the company of President George Q. Cannon all the way across the plains, which we appreciated very much.

Ogden - November 30 All in good health and spirits; changed cars for Farmington, reached home in safety; found all well, glad to see each other.

This was a pleasure trip to me, in very deed. I had an opportunity to form the acquaintance of influential businessmen from different parts of the country; made acquaintances that will not be forgotten very soon.

January 15, 1894 Today William R. Smith, President of the Davis Stake of Zion, died after a severe, lingering sickness of six months, of cancer in the intestines. This was a severe shock to his family and to all the people of the stake, as he was a first-class man, a good president, a good father, and a friend to all good people; his faithful memory will live in the hearts of the people.
About this time I was called by the Presidency of the Church to take the Temporary Presidency of the Stake in President Smith’s place, with Brother Hyrum Grant as my first counselor to assist me. Of course, we took hold and did the best we could, but because of the long sickness of our latest President, all public Stake matters were much run down so we had to labor with our might to get matters straightened up.

March 4, 1894 Today at the Stake Conference in East Bountiful, I was set apart to preside as the President of the Davis Stake of Zion with Joseph Hyrum Grant as my first counselor; set apart by the Apostle Franklin D. Richards and Heber J. Grant, Apostle Richards being mouth.

Stake president John W. Hess with his counselors and stake high council
Stake president John W. Hess with his counselors and stake high council.

Brother F. D. Richards stated to the Conference that my name had been considered by the first Presidency and the Quorum of the Apostles, and it was decided unanimously that I was the man. It was put before the High Council and they were unanimously in favor; it was also put before the Conference, and I was unanimously sustained.

I had presided over the Farmington Ward as its Bishop for twenty-seven successive years, and had labored as the First Counselor to President W.R. Smith from 1882 to 1894. I got along with this very well, or reasonably satisfactorily, but to accept the responsibility of presiding over the Stake seemed a great responsibility, and so it has proved in every sense of the word. It has caused me to feel very humble and to live as near to the Lord as a man of my temperament could do, but through the help of the Lord I have done the best I could, and as to how well I have succeeded, I will leave to the Lord and my charitable brethren and sisters to judge. I pray most earnestly that I may continue to be faithful and humble in the future in my labors among the people, that I may put my trust in the Lord and have His approval, then I will be content.

Read More about John W. Hess



About September 15, 1900, during my late illness, on Sunday morning about 9 o’clock, while lying upon my bed, and my brethren of the Priesthood were out among the people performing their various duties, I was thinking over my helpless condition, not being able to be with them in the performance of my own duties; I began to pour out my whole soul in prayer. My prayer finally resolved itself into a lamentation, asking the Lord what I had done or what I had not done that I should be so seriously afflicted, that I should be deprived of the privilege of going forth with the rest of my brethren and performing my duties.
I was told that it was not for any great sin of commission or omission that I was thus afflicted, but it was because of my long and faithful labor and the many hardships that I had passed through during my long life that had weakened my faculties and brought me to my present condition. I was told that the Lord accepted of my labors and that my career on earth would, in the near future, be brought to close.

About this time I saw, sitting on a box at the foot of my bed, a personage that looked familiar to me, in the full bloom and vigor of life. I gazed upon it with great earnestness and finally came to the conclusion that it was my own visage in every form and feature except the age.
About this time I heard a voice saying and pointing directly at this visage; This is the body of your spirit, you see that it is in the exact image and form of your temporal body.” He repeated again with great earnestness, “This is the body of your spirit,” and then remarked, “Now, let this suffice for the present.”

Now, I do declare in all soberness, and in the fear of God while writing, that the above statement is true, and shall be a testimony to all who read it.

Farmington, Davis County, Utah
January 13, 1902

by Russ Bateman

To tell Emeline’s story, we begin in the picturesque land of tulips and windmills. Her great-grandfather, Mark Bigler, came to America from the River Rhine, Holland. He was born about 1705 and died in Pipe Creek, Frederick, Maryland, when about 82 years of age. He had married a girl we know only as Catherine. She had been born about 1712 and lived in Frederick County, Maryland.

About 1752, Jacob was born to Mark and Catherine. Jacob became a farmer in Summerset County, Pennsylvania. He married Hannah Booker and they had ten children. Jacob died in September 1829, at the age of 76. Hanna lived until July 18, 1853. She was 93 at the time of death.

The sixth child of Jacob and Hannah was named for his father. Jacob Jr., was born June 9, 1793 at Harrison County, Virginia, where his family had lived most of their years. When Jacob grew to manhood, he married Elizabeth Harvey on May 24, 1814. Elisabeth had been born January 10, 1795 at Montgomery County, Maryland, to Basil Harvey and Polly Hall Harvey. Jacob and Elizabeth had five children: Henry William, Polly Hannah, Emeline, and Bathsheba. Little Bathsheba was buried when she was but 14 months old.

Jacob and Elizabeth were poor, humble, hard-working, honest and religious. They arose by candlelight and worked until late at night. They loomed the flax of their fields, made their own clothing, including shoes. The simple log home was furnished with plain furniture, fashioned by Jacob. Education was important to these parents, for the children went to school and were tutored by David Masters, a Methodist minister. The curriculum consisted of the usual three "R’s" with a spelling bee "thrown in for fun." Whenever the weather would permit, it was barefoot time. On Sundays the girls would carry their hose and homemade shoes until they almost reached the little church. Jacob was a farmer, not a shoemaker.

The beautiful State of Virginia was rich in resources. Game was plentiful. The family lived on fat venison, wild turkey, honey, acorns, nuts, and pigs, which ran wild in the forest to be fattened. One of the highlights of the year was "sugaring." Families for miles around would gather and make camp. Large buckets were attached to the trees, the oozing sap collected and poured into huge kettles, to be boiled and processed into the delicious sugar. The children loved to sample the tempting sweet, and happily licked their sticky fingers.

Emeline was three years old when her mother contracted consumption. Elizabeth realized that she would soon have to leave her five little children; therefore, she made Jacob promise that he would soon remarry so her beloved children would have a mother to love and care for them. This brave and thoughtful little mother even picked her successor – Sally Cunningham, who was but 17.

Henry William, the eldest child, was 12 years at this time. Within a few years, Henry found the answer to his sad questions. He was converted to the Church. This was a great turning point in their lives. In the fall of 1838, when Emeline was 14 years old, the family moved to Farr West, Missouri, to join the Saints. More challenges were in store for Jacob – no sooner were they settled in Far West when with 15,000 other Saints, they were forced to flee from Missouri. Jacob, his new wife, Sally, and his four children arrived at Quincey, Illinois in the early spring of 1839. The father rented a farm near Payson, Illinois, to start over. Henry was now 24. To help the family, he went to work on a steamboat. However, this job was soon terminated because Henry answered the call of the Lord and went to preach the gospel.

The beautiful City of Nauvoo was now the headquarters of the Church, so Jacob and his family moved to Bier Creek, 16 miles from Nauvoo. Once again dark clouds threatened Jacob’s world – persecution forced him to move into Nauvoo for the safety of his loved ones.

Emeline loved the City of Nauvoo, especially after she met a tall, dark and handsome Dutchman, named John Wells Hess. Emeline had a genial disposition and a gentleness which attracted people to her. And perhaps there was a sense of fellowship because long ago, Emeline’s great-grandfather, Mark Bigler, had called Holland his native land. This lovely, sweet girl was 24 when she married 24 year old John. On a cool, crisp day, November 2, 1845, they exchanged vows. They were endowed on January 29, 1846.

The Saints were forced to leave Nauvoo and John and Emeline left April 3, 1846. John was the oldest at home in his family and felt a responsibility for his father, mother, and their four children. His father had suffered a stroke and was an invalid. But John was strong and resourceful. He managed to secure two old wagons and two yoke of oxen. The ailing father was made as comfortable as possible in one wagon and their possessions were packed in the other. Of course, only meager necessities could be taken and the family had to proceed on foot.

The first night, weary and drenched with rain, they camped on the Iowa side. Their progress was slow and tedious because they could only make from five to eight miles a day. Through rain and mud, sun and sleet, they trudged on. At night they cut willows and piled them into crude mattresses, then fell upon them, exhausted - to sleep in wet clothing, and arise the next sunrise to plod on again.

Two and a half months later, on June 15, 1846, they limped into Mount Pisgah. There they made a temporary shelter of bark. John was faced with a difficult decision. His father was too ill to travel any further. Food was running perilously low. John and Emeline decided to push on, promising to return for his family later. After John and Emeline left, his father’s little remaining strength failed and he was buried at Mount Pisgah on June 22, 1846.

Sod house at Mt. Pisgah
Reconstruction of a log and sod cabin at Mt. Pisgah. John Hess built his family a house of bark. Others made dugouts into the hillsides.

Emeline and John made their way west to Council Bluffs, Iowa. They stayed a short while, building shelters, securing food and planting crops to be harvested by those who would follow.

Another decision faced John and Emeline at Council Bluffs, because on July 1 word came that 500 men were to be enlisted into the United States Army and sent to fight Mexico. John loved his country, even though he and his people had been cruelly treated. He enlisted in the Mormon Battalion. But what of Emeline, who loved her husband devotedly? She learned that with every company, a woman was hired to go as a laundress. Emeline was quick to volunteer so that she and John might stay together. Emeline was strong and courageous - as well she needed to be. The journey of the Mormon Battalion was long and full of many hardships. She was a great source of joy and strength to her husband. History tells us that the women endured the trek better than did some of the men.

So the Battalion marched out from Council Bluffs to Fort Leavenworth, a distance of 200 miles. This was accomplished in ten days. On August 13 they started for Santa Fe, Mexico, 720 miles away. The heat, dust and sunbaked stretches took their toll. Many soldiers became ill and disabled. The Battalion was slowing down. When it finally reached Santa Fe, Colonel Phillip St. George Cook, the Commanding Officer, ordered the sick to return to Pueblo, Colorado. All women and children were to return also.

John Hess was very upset. He didn’t want to go without Emeline. How could he bear to see his beautiful, young sweetheart march away with a company of sick, heat-deranged men, with none but woman and children to help protect her.

Again John made a decision. With courage and daring, he approached the Commander, General Doniphan, with a proposal. He secured permission for the husbands of all the women to return with their wives to Pueblo.

Even though the trek back was severe, John and Emeline were still together, for which they were happy and grateful. But the way was hard and long. Here was a company of women and children, tired and discouraged, traveling those many, many miles, saddled with the care of the sick and disabled men. Food was scarce, so half rations were doled out the first part of the journey, and these were cut to quarter rations the second portion of the torturous journey.

The winter was spent in Pueblo recuperating. In the spring of 1847, with renewed bodies and hopes, Emeline and John started on the trail to Fort Laramie. Joyfully they joined with a company of Saints and came on into the Salt Lake Valley, arriving July 28, 1847. Thus ended two years of wandering over deserts, rivers and mountains, and through rain, snow, heat and cold. At last a place was found where they could live and build homes in peace. John and Emeline had the same experiences of all the early pioneers – struggles and failures, heartaches and discouragements, but they were dedicated disciples of our Father in heaven, and overcame all obstacles with strong courage and determination and thankfulness in their hearts that they had each other.

John made Emeline a home in Salt Lake, but after a short while they moved out to Mill Creek, where John cut timber to earn money. But John still had a pledge to fulfill and on September 9, 1847, he left Emeline with friends and family and returned to Mount Pisgah. He was saddened by the news of his father, but brought his mother and his brothers and sisters back to Salt Lake Valley, arriving on July 27, 1848. His joy at seeing his beloved Emeline again was multiplied when he beheld his beautiful son, born on January 6, 1848. Little Jacob was named in honor of Emeline’s father.

It’s moving time again. Once more John gathered their possessions and with his wife and baby, his mother and her family, journeyed to Farmington. A home was established there. John performed a mission to the Indians and was a Bishop and Patriarch in that area.

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