their pioneer home in Kentucky, William and Elizabeth Patrick Taylor became
the parents of their eighth child, Joseph, on 4 June 1825. Although some records
indicate he was born in Bowling Green, the Taylors actually lived approximately
12 miles north of that town and just west of Richardsville near the Barren River.
in the westward migration that was characteristic of those times, the William
including their eleven children, moved to Monroe County, Missouri, in 1831 along
with other relatives. The family obtained an 80-acre land grant on 3 Nov. 1831
in Jefferson Township along the Ivy Branch of the South Fork of Salt River.
William said that Missouri was the most beautiful and fertile land he had ever
seen when his family moved there.
the early missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints met
the Taylor family in 1832. Joseph's father, a man who was very conversant with
the Bible, believed himself to be the first person baptized into the Church
in the state of Missouri. The Taylors lived in an area called the Salt River
Branch. (The above facts appear to disprove an earlier account of William Taylor's
miraculous conversion as written by Leila Marler Hoggan in Fred. G. Taylor's
Book of Remembrance.)
loyal to the Gospel from the time of their baptism, the Taylors moved successively
to Ray County, Missouri, then to Long Creek in Clay County eight miles south
of Far West, then lived briefly in Far West.
Taylor children early learned to revere the authorities of the Church. Their
mother Elizabeth often sent the children to take food to the Prophet Joseph
Smith while he and some associates were incarcerated in the Liberty Jail.
Governor Boggs issued the infamous "Order of Extermination", the Taylors loaded
what belongings they could take with them and moved to Illinois. William Taylor,
weakened by persecution and exposure, became ill during the journey and passed
away soon after arriving in Illinois, on 9 September 1839.
four of the older Taylor children had married prior to their father's death,
ten children remained with their mother and worked to assist in providing the
material necessities of life. In Nauvoo, Joseph and his younger brother Green
worked for John Gilmore for 25 cents per day. They took their pay in corn to
help their family. Gilmore was very bitter toward the Mormons. He made the statement
that if his huge wooden pump were a cannon loaded with shells, and if all the
Mormon boys were lined up in a row, he would shoot them all.
Nauvoo Joseph met Mary Moore and married her on 24 March 1844. They were later
endowed in the Nauvoo Temple 24 January 1846. Their first child, Clarissa Jane,
was born 4 July 1845 in Nauvoo.
the Prophet Joseph Smith personally for most of his youthful years, Joseph Taylor
had many wonderful experiences which he loved to relate to his children and
grandchildren in later years ( see Attachment I ). He became a member of the
Nauvoo Legion and often served as a bodyguard of the Prophet Joseph (see Attachment
Taylor shared in those bitter days of persecution and hardship that followed
the Saints wherever they moved. One can only imagine the effect of the heartbreaking
news that came to Nauvoo following the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.
And the next two years must have been a nightmare of hatred, prejudice and violence
before the Saints fled Nauvoo, crossing the Mississippi River on 8 February
1846. The earliest saints to leave had to use a ferry. Then the weather turned
bitterly cold and the river froze over so solidly that the wagons (including
the Taylors') crossed the river on the ice.
Taylors migrated westward with the other saints across the harsh lands of Iowa
until they reached Council Bluffs in June 1846. On June 26th Captain James Allen
of the United States Army arrived at Mount Pisgah with three dragoons. The camp
was momentarily in turmoil as the first cry went out, "The United States troops
are upon us!" The excitement stemmed from Governor Ford's false report before
the saints left Nauvoo, in which he stated that the federal government intended
to prevent their move west, using U. S. troops if necessary.
January 1846 Brigham Young had sent Elder Jesse C. Little on a special mission
to Washington, D. C., to confer with President Polk about the possibility of
helping the saints in their migration to the West. During a three-hour conference
in June the president mentioned the possibility of assisting them by enlisting
a thousand men, arming and equipping them and sending them to California to
defend the country (the war with Mexico had already begun). While further development
of these plans had taken place, Brigham Young had received no communication
indicating that the plan was being considered. When Captain James Allen of the
U. S. Army arrived at Mount Pisgah with three dragoons, he announced that he
had come to enlist 500 able-bodied men to assist in the war with Mexico, Brigham's
first thoughts dwelt on the difficulty of giving up 500 young men when they
were needed so badly in the pioneers' migration. However, he was quick to comprehend
the positive benefits of responding to the call. He took Heber C. Kimball, Parley
C. Pratt, Orson Pratt and others with him from camp to camp to persuade the
saints to respond to the call.
Taylor and his brother Pleasant Green both enlisted in the Battalion on a Sunday
morning. Next day P. G. was stricken with a fever, so he was unable to depart
with the other soldiers. (When Joseph enlisted, his papers indicated he was
6' in height, had black hair and dark complexion and blue eyes.)
Allen's recruiting of the men to serve in the war with Mexico proved to be a
blessing to the saints despite the fact that it temporarily delayed the departure
of the saints for the West. The financial support provided from the soldiers'
pay enabled the saints to purchase supplies that were sorely needed.
20 July 1846 the Battalion, under Allen's command, started its march southward
to Fort Leavenworth, Joseph Taylor having been assigned as a private in Company
A. The story of their march across the southwest, said to be the longest march
of infantry on record, was a continuous experience of trial and hardship. Trudging
through blistering sands; often wanting for food, water and clothing; attacked
by herds of wild bulls; suffering from both cold and heat along the way; and
cutting roads through solid rock in places all added to the misery of the experience.
served as a teamster from October 1846 through March 1847. Arriving at the end
of their journey in San Diego on 29 January 1847, the Battalion was congratulated
by Col. P. St. George Cooke for their splendid achievement in the face of such
difficulties, and they were commended for the fine caliber of men in that group.
arriving in San Diego, the members of the Mormon Battalion found themselves
in the midst of a political dilemma. Lt. Col. John C. Fremont, who had been
acting as temporary governor of California, refused to accept Brigadier General
Stephen W. Kearney as the new Washington appointed governor and continued to
subvert the efforts of this governor. Finally, Gen. Kearney decided to initiate
court-martial proceedings against Fremont. To do so, he would have to take Fremont
to Missouri for trial. He ordered fifteen men of the Mormon Battalion to escort
him and his detachment as far as Fort Leavenworth (in present-day Kansas). Joseph
Taylor was reassigned by the 10th Military Department Order No. 12 to be a bodyguard
for General Kearney (Pension file).
horses and mules. General Kearney's detachment traveled north from Monterey
to Sutter's Fort, then proceeded to Truckee Lake (later named Donner Lake) near
the Nevada border. There they found the site where the George and Jacob Donner
Company had been trapped by the winter snows a few months earlier. Although
survivors had spread news about the disaster, no one had been able to reach
the site to bury the dead until this military detachment arrived about June
out an old cellar, Joseph and the other men buried the bones of 36 people who
had perished from starvation and exposure. One of the escorts, Matthew Caldwell,
described the awful sight as follows: "There was not a whole person that we
could find." Because of the threat of starvation, members of the Donner party
had resorted to cannibalism.
last two hundred miles on foot were "very hard on us, ' wrote Matthew Caldwell.
discovering an ambushed guard of soldiers, one group of Mormon Battalion soldiers
fired their cannon every night to ward off Indians.
detachment traveled to Fort Hall, then Fort Bridger and Fort Laramie, where
they joyfully met an LDS pioneer company on their way to the Salt Lake Valley.
Joseph was discharged when they reached Fort Leavenworth (Joseph's journal).
Along with some of the other men, Joseph continued eastward to Iowa, to rejoin
loved ones who awaited their return.
Joseph reached his family in Iowa, he found that his cattle had been scattered,
so it took him some time to get them together and resume preparations for their
Joseph's absence his wife Mary had given birth to their second daughter, Mary
Melvina, on 22 February 1847 in Council Bluffs. Their first son, Joseph Alien,
was born there 3 August 1848. A second son, William Andrew, arrived on 15 May
1850 at Kanesville, where emigrants had earlier been advised by the leaders
to gather for their westward journey.
the harvest was over in the fall of 1849, Joseph and his brother Pleasant Green
and their families traveled south to Holt County, Missouri, to obtain work.
They still needed additional supplies to begin their journey the next spring.
Taylors, Lakes and Marlers started for the West in the latter part of May 1850
with James Lake as their captain and Joseph Taylor as a lieutenant. The journey
was a difficult one, filled with privation and even frightening encounters with
savage Indians. How grateful they must have been when they passed through Parley's
Canyon and entered the Salt Lake Valley on 5 September 1850.
staying in Salt Lake City a short time, Joseph moved his family northward to
East Kaysville, where he and his brother Pleasant Green took up some land. The
property was located just south of the present intersection of Mountain Road
and Green Road in Fruit Heights. There the family was enumerated in the 1850
Federal Census (actually April 1851) in Kay's Ward.
later moved his family to the central part of Kaysville near where the main
square is now located. He began building an adobe house for his family; his
wife Mary carried the mortar for him. While working one day, she became very
ill, went into convulsions and died 4 April 1852 at the birth of their fifth
child, a stillborn son. Joseph constructed a crude coffin from his wagon box,
placed the mother and babe in it and buried them in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
someone to help care for his four small children, Joseph married three months
later (12 July 1852) Jane Lake Ordway, a young widow with one son, Stephen.
They resided in Kaysville until after the birth of their son Moroni on 1 May
1853. Then, because Jane wanted to be closer to her parents, who lived in
Harrisville, she and Joseph moved their family to Ogden.
Taylor's journal (p.4) indicates that they moved to Weber County in 1854. His
father-in-law, James Lake, and other settlers from the Harrisville area had
moved their homes into Bingham's Fort in 1853 for protection from the Indians.
This fort was situated at the north end of Ogden at 2nd Street and Childs Avenue.
Joseph and his family had a home at the fort, where their second child, Esther,
was born 3 April 1855. The residents of the fort remained there until 1856,
the same year in which Joseph had been elected constable at the fort.
Note: Bingham's Fort enclosed an area of 40 acres. The walls were built of rocks
and mud. Each family had an assigned portion of the wall to build. This wall
was erected about four rods from the houses, with corrals taking up the space
between the houses and the wall. Thomas Richardson, a pioneer boy who lived
in Bingham's Fort tells how the wall was constructed. "The walls were made of
mud. We did not have lumber to put up to hold the mud, so we placed upright
poles, tapering from about eight feet at the bottom to about three feet at the
top. We set stakes between the poles and wove willows in like a willow fence,
then filled the space with mud. We made a ditch nearby to run water down to
wet the mud. When wet, we threw it in with shovels, spades or anything we had.
We built the willow forms as the wall went up. It (the wall) was about twelve
feet high. "106 (p. 87) Wilford Woodruff reported in December of 1854 as he
toured the northern settlements that there were 753 people living in Bingham's
land records in Ogden do not indicate when or how Joseph obtained title to Lot
4 in Block 30, Plat A in Ogden City (located on 24th street just east of Adams
Avenue on property now used for the rectory of St. Joseph's Catholic Church.
Because the Taylors had a log cabin and farm animals on the property, it most
likely served as their residence when the next two children were born in Ogden.
Emma Jane arrived 26 January 1857 and Lydia Ann on 22 October 1858.
rather significant event in the life of Joseph Taylor occurred as a result of
efforts by President Brigham Young in the 1850's to secure a general consecration
to the Church of properties held by the Saints. This effort to revive the Law
of Consecration and Stewardship established under Joseph Smith was the subject
of a public announcement in General Conference in April 1854. Next year a general
epistle to the Church stated that the consecrations of the Saints had been delayed
for a time to obtain a form for a deed which would be "legal in accordance with
the laws of the Territory." Members of the Church began deeding their real and
personal property to Brigham young as Trustee-in-Trust for the Church. Joseph
Taylor completed such a deed on 14 July 1857 along with a number of the other
Saints in the Ogden area. The fact that only one-half of the Saints made such
deeds speaks well for the obedience of Joseph and Jane Taylor. (See Attachment
#3, a copy of the deed.) Although the property actually remained in the possession
of the Taylors (possibly because the idea was not more generally accepted throughout
the Church), it does demonstrate the willingness of the Taylors to dedicate
their all to the Church.
event in Church history also affected the life of Joseph Taylor. In a conference
held in Salt Lake City 28-29 August 1852, the doctrine of plural marriage was
first publicly announced. Sometime near the end of 1854 Joseph married another
wife, Hannah Mariah Harris, by whom nine children were born. Joseph was sealed
to Jane Lake and Hannah Mariah Harris in the Endowment House on 7 January 1865.
Joseph was later married to a fourth wife, Caroline Mattson or Madson (date
unknown). This last wife, a Swedish convert, had been sealed 22 June 1882 to
Arne Christiansen Grue; she had no children by Joseph Taylor.
1857 a combination of unfortunate circumstances arose which culminated in hostilities
referred to as the Utah War. To better understand how Joseph Taylor and other
members of the Nauvoo Legion became directly involved in this conflict, consider
the following review of conditions leading up to the war.
1857 the Latter-day Saints, literally ousted over a decade earlier from the
existing borders of the United States, had erected a powerful and cohesive commonwealth
in the West. By their industry their territory had become one of the largest
and most promising ones, submitting yearly applications for statehood. Brigham
Young was Utah Territorial governor by governmental appointment as well as by
Mormon desire. Being a rather "unorthodox" type of Christianity which had begun
to practice plural marriage, the Church in Utah became a subject of very strange
tales around the country. Religious leaders and editors in the East found ample
opportunity to publicly denounce the "Mormon Menace."
Latter-day Saints, interestingly, flew the United States flag in the West after
they had been expelled from Illinois. In February 1849 after the government
had failed to provide any form of governmental control over the vast area ceded
to it from Mexico, a convention was called by the Mormons to form a civil government.
The resulting constitution for a provisional state government affirmed complete
religious freedom for all sects. A request for admittance to the Union of the
State of Deseret was prepared and submitted. Apparently expecting a denial of
their statehood request, a request for territorial government was personally
carried to Philadelphia, where Thomas L. Kane, loyal friend of the Mormons,
was interviewed regarding the matter. He advised against a territorial government,
which would possibly result in corrupt men from Washington coming to the territory
and causing problems. Though they made no further effort to obtain a territorial
government. Congress refused the request for statehood and instead created the
Territory of Utah. Wishes of the Mormons as to name, geographical area and self-government
were utterly ignored.
appointees sent from Washington were offended by Mormon practice of plural marriage
and by a Pioneer Day oration by Daniel H. Wells in which he took the government
to task for demanding the Mormon Battalion to serve in the face of previous
injustices to the Saints. He also made uncomplimentary remarks about President
Zachary Taylor. Approximately six weeks later, Associate Justice Perry E. Brocchus,
an appointee from Washington, requested permission to speak in the Mormon conference,
where he objected to portions of the Wells oration. During his speech he directed
some remarks to the ladies, urging them strongly "to become virtuous." The latter
inference caused an immediate uproar. Brigham Young rose at once to defend his
and less-than-delicate handling of dealings between the "Gentile" government
officials and LDS leaders led to bitter feelings. One after another of the federal
appointees returned to the East with terrible accusations against the Mormons
and their leaders. While some friends of the Mormons in the East endeavored
to assure others of the falsehood in those accusations, it seemed that most
people preferred to believe the worst about the Mormons. Judge William W. Drummond,
making a fast exit from Utah Territory, sent his resignation letter to the United
States Attorney-General, contended that troops were necessary to enforce any
laws made by the government at Washington and presented by its appointees in
the Territory of Utah.
steps in forming a military expedition to Utah were taken 27 May 1857 in general
orders of the War Department for the "gathering of a body of troops at Fort
Leavenworth, to march to Utah as soon as assembled." Since the plan was conducted
in complete secrecy, it was some time before knowledge of the expedition reached
the Latter-day Saints. Oddly, news came to Brigham Young while the Saints were
celebrating in Big Cottonwood Canyon on July 24th, the anniversary of their
arrival in the Valley.
1 August 1857 Lieutenant General Daniel H. Wells of the Nauvoo Legion (Utah's
militia) issued official orders. The people of Utah were reminded that they
had been supportive of the Constitution and laws of the parent government, but
that when anarchy and mobocratic tyranny usurps the power of rulers, Utah citizens
still have the inalienable right to defend themselves against all aggression
upon their constitutional privileges. Resistance was justified by the indelible
memory of previous year of persecution and mob violence in Missouri and Illinois.
military forces were on the move as early as 15 August 1857. One observation
corps was sent east, another sent to Fort Hall and another to Bear River to
watch those possible entrances to the Valley. The eastern expedition intecepted
a large government supply train near Fort Bridger before the end of August.
They learned that Col. Albert Sidney Johnston had then been put in command
of government forces and from "soldier talk" they learned what the army intended
doing to the "God damned Mormons" once they reached the Salt Lake Valley.
How tragic that the Mormons were not informed that the purpose of the incoming
army was to be an occupation force! It was just assumed that the army intended
to fight its way into Utah.
Stewart Van Vliet arrived in Salt Lake City with an advance expedition to
locate a suitable base camp and arrange for purchase of food, lumber and supplies,
he was not well enough informed of the army's plans to explain this to Brigham
Young. Pres. Young informed him that the Saints would not sell him anything,
and if he planned a base camp, they would have to fight for it. Also, if the
invading army won their fight, they would find a Utah as devoid of life and
habitation as the Mormons themselves had found it. As Van Vliet returned eastward
and met other advance units of the American Army, he warned them not to attempt
a forced passage into Utah.
day after Van Vliet left Salt Lake City, Brigham Young declared martial law.
Twelve hundred and fifty men of the territorial "Nauvoo Legion" were immediately
ordered to Echo Canyon. Instructions to the militia, signed by Daniel H. Wells,
indicated they were to annoy the incoming army in every possible way.
. .Use every exertion to stampede their animals and set fire to their trains.
Burn the whole country before them, and on their flanks. Keep them from sleeping
by night surprises; blockade the road by falling trees or destroying the river
fords where you can. Watch for opportunities to set fire to the grass before
them that can be burned. Keep your men concealed as much as possible, and guard
agaist surprise. Keep scouts out at all times, and communications open with
Colonel Burton, Major McAllister and 0. P. Rockwell, who are operating in the
same way. Keep me advised daily of your movements and every step the troops
take, and in which direction.
bless you, and give you success.
brother in Christ,
postscript emphasized that they were to take no life, but destroy the government
his home in Ogden, Joseph Taylor, appointed a major in the 5th Battalion of
the Mormon militia, took his command of 50 men and marched toward Echo Canyon
on 18 September 1857. This group traveled east from Echo Canyon to the emigrant
trail until they met General Wells on his way to reconnoiter the approaching
U.S. army. At this time Joseph received a copy of the message noted above, which
General Wells had issued 4 October.
Taylor and his men proceeded at once to Fort Bridger, then surveyed the area
eastward near Black Fork, Ham's Fork and the Green River. Leaving most of his
group behind, Joseph took a few men, including his adjutant William R. R. Stowell
and Wells Chase into an area known to have been occupied by army scouts. Some
men thought it unwise to follow the army so closely as they chose the route
camping on Ham's Fork where the soldiers had camped two days earlier, Joseph
and his comrades on 16 October followed the soldiers' trail until they saw smoke
in the distance. Thinking the smoke came from comrades' camps, the small group
proceeded in that direction, soon noticing a small group of men about a mile
away. As the men proceeded, they were suddenly rushed by men on horseback. Part
of the group escaped, but Joseph, drawing his pistol to defend himself, was
captured with his adjutant as prisoners of war.
the prisoners, their captors discovered the letter that had been given Joseph
by General Wells. Apparently this was the first official understanding the U.S.
Army had of the intentions of the Mormons; it affected all army decisions regarding
its future operations.
apart the first night, the two prisoners gave differing information next day
during interrogation. Joseph stated that between 20,000 and 25,000 "warriors"
were awaiting the U.S. Army. Stowell raised the number by 5,000. Hearing the
obviously exaggerated numbers apparently astonished Colonel Alexander, for one
of the prisoners described his reaction thus: (He) "stood aghast, while I could
have hung my hat on his eyes."
captivity these two men had reason to fear for their lives. Not only were they
warned that if they tried to escape, they would be shot, but more than once
they claimed that an attempt was made to poison them. Once when their captors
put poison in the soup, Joseph warned his hungry companion, "Don't drink; it's
poisoned." Stowell just tasted it, but became deathly ill. Another time the
army tried to smother the prisoners by putting them in a tent and building a
smoking fire by the tent. The captives escaped being smothered by hollowing
out some small holes in the ground large enough for the nose and mouth, then
holding their hands closely about their faces as they breathed in the holes.
the army that held them captive approached Fort Bridger, the prisoners heard
threats that they would be hanged. They hoped that the army's commander. Colonel
Albert Sydney Johnston, would arrive with the rest of his troops and prevent
the threat from being carried out.
by a dream, Joseph planned to escape. Delayed once by Stowell's illness, he
decided to make a break the first week in November. Feigning illness, he removed
his coat and boots to make it appear that he had no intention of leaving.
Then as a herd of cattle passed near the camp, distracting the guards, Joseph
took his boots in hand and raced away in his stocking feet. Stowell said that
Joseph was not missed for about fifteen minutes. A detail of soldiers was
sent after the escapee. Returning a little later, they reported that they
had found and shot the escapee.
about three-quarters of a mile in his stocking feet before the stockings wore
out. Seeking refuge on the side of a mountain, he knelt and gave thanks.
a storm set in, Joseph, hungry and underclothed, forded both Smith's and Black's
Fork, his clothes freezing to his body. The next day he found a coat in a bundle,
which contained stockings in the pocket. Then, exhausted from exposure and hunger,
he found six of his comrades about four miles from Fort Bridger. At the time
the Saints were in the process of abandoning this fort. After Joseph was fed
and provided with a horse, he traveled westward until he met General Wells on
had overheard sufficient conversation while a captive that he was able to provide
valuable information to General Wells about the immediate plans of the U.S.
Army. Still very weak from his experience, Joseph continued on to Salt Lake
City, where he reported to President Young on November 9th. After he gave his
report, he was instructed to get a gun and return to the mountains. By the time
he returned to the canyons, the immediate threat of a winter invasion by the
U.S. Army was gone. Joseph was released and allowed to return to his family.
Mormons' burning of Fort Bridger and Fort Supply, applying the torch to more
than one government supply train, burning the grass, and other tactics forced
the federal army to set up winter camp at Ham's Fork on the Green River. It
was most difficult for the men to subsist on short rations and for the animals
to live on the little forage available. Several offers of food from Brigham
Young brought churlish rejection.
Johnston's Army hopelessly trapped for the winter, the Utah militia withdrew
to Salt Lake Valley, maintaining military units only at the canyons leading
to their valley.
complexioin of the war changed when Thomas L. Kane made his appearance as a
messenger from President Buchanan. Kane used his personal influence to help
Brigham Young avert otherwise certain bloodshed during the ensuing year. Kane
persuaded President Young to permit U.S. appointed Governor Alfred Cummings
to enter the valley and assume his duties. Also, President Young then announced
a change in strategy. The Saints were directed to leave their homes and move
south, taking their supplies with them and leaving their homes with kindling
material ready so if the invading army should molest one person or dwelling,
every building would be torched.
County residents were instructed to move to the area around Provo. The move
was underway in April 1858; the people stayed in Utah County for approximately
three months before returning to their homes. Fortunately, Johnston's Army gave
no reason for applying the torch when they marched through silent Salt Lake
City on 26 Jun 1858 and moved on to Cedar Valley to set up camp.
the Utah War concluded, Joseph and his family resumed their activities in Weber
County, probably moving at this time from Ogden to the western part of Harrisville,
later called Farr West. Homesteading the area, he resided in this location for
the rest of his life.
on 31 May 1856 a charter had been granted to the Western Irrigation Company
to take water out of the Ogden River for irrigation in the Harrisville area.
After colonists returned to their homes following the Johnston's Army episode,
a new charter was issued. Reportedly, Joseph Taylor and two other men built
a ditch to bring irrigation water to their farms. He was water master for many
years on the canal that was later constructed.
and his family milked as many as forty head of cows and sold the milk, cream,
butter and cheese to help provide for their sustenance.
was active in church and community affairs. In December 1866 he became 1st Counselor
to President Daniel B. Rawson in the Eighth District (a school precinct). He
later succeeded Daniel B. Rawson (then referred to as a "trustee"). In 1883
he was ordained a Patriarch for Weber Stake, a position he held until his death
(no blessings are recorded for this period of time).
Utah State Archives contains a copy of Joseph's resignation as Major of the
1st Battalion of the 1st Regiment of the Weber Military District. The letter,
written by Gen. Chauncey W. West, indicates that Joseph felt he was unable to
perform the duties of the office longer because of weak eyes. He attributed
his condition to the attempt by Sergeant Newman of Johnston's Army to smoke
him and William Stowell to death while they were prisoners of war. (Editor's
note: Somewhere I have read that this Sergeant was court-martialed after the
Taylor had a total of 25 children by his first three wives; he had no issue
from the fourth.
an illness of three weeks, Joseph passed away in Farr West 11 August 1900. Bishop
James Martin conducted his funeral in Farr West. Five members of the Mormon
Battalion were present at the service, namely: James Owen, John Thompson, Lorin
dark, Alexander Brown and Jesse Brown. Bishop James Martin, George Middleton,
William Fife and Thomas Doxey spoke of his faithfulness in doing God's work.
of Joseph's grandchildren have related a few incidents which reveal some interesting
aspects of his character. A short time before his death, as Joseph was driving
his team and wagon into Ogden, he kept looking around at the scenery. One of
his family observed the unusual behavior and inquired why he was doing it. He
replied that this was the last time he would be going to town, and he was "just
the latter part of his life, Joseph presented rather an amusing sight as he
attended church on Sunday afternoons in the old Farr West Meetinghouse. He tied
a knot in each corner of a red bandana and put it over his head to keep the
flies from bothering his bald head. Seated with the dignitaries on the rostrum,
he made quite an impression on those in attendance.
displayed a fiery temper at times; too, he exhibited a rather stern disposition
in some ways. When he hired young men to work for him, he gave strict instructions
as to the way he wanted things done. for example, in pitching the hay onto the
stack, he expected it to be thrown into the middle of the stack, and he would
accept no other way of doing it. His hired help preferred to follow his directions
rather than incur his displeasure.
also had a kind, loving way about him. Neighbors used to call on him to come
into their homes in case of illness. In March 1892 his son William Andrew became
critically ill and required emergency surgery. Shortly before William passed
away, his father was seated in the bedroom near the bed. As Joseph stirred from
his rocking chair, William roused and begged, "Father, don't leave." Joseph
spoke, his voice kind and filled with love, "I won't. Son." After William passed
away, Joseph was mindful of his son's widow and her family, occasionally dropping
in to leave them a box of groceries.
his descendants, could do well to follow in his footsteps in devotion to the
Lord and service to our fellow man!
Barker, Elwood. Pioneer Forts in Oqden, Utah 1848-1855.
Berrett, William Edwin. 1940. The Restored Church, 2d ed. Salt Lake: Deseret
Interview with Riley E. Taylor, a grandson of Joseph, about 1962.
Interview with a neighbor, Jethro D. Brown, about 1958.
Porter, Larry C., Aug. 1989. "From California to Council Bluffs", Ensign, pp.42-45.
Taylor, Brian L., 1980. History of Farr West. p.2.
Taylor, Joseph, Journal, 1857. (LDS Historian's Office, MS 1469)
Tyler, Sgt. Daniel. 1888. A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican
War, 1964 ed. Chicago: The Rio Grande Press, Inc.
U. S. 1850 Census, Davis County, Utah; SLFHL film #025,540.
Warner, Jesse L. 1973. Coneto Creek Taylors. Provo: J. Grant Stevenson, p. 14.
Weber County Court Records. Ogden FHC Microfilm #l. p. 134.
of the Prophet Joseph Smith,. The Juvenile instructor 27 (1892):202, 203
Joseph Taylor, Sen., of Harrisville, Weber- County, Utah, was born June 4th,
1825, in Warren County, Kentucky. He was baptized into the Church in Ray County,
Missouri, in the summer of 1835. In Zion's Camp, on the Salt River, Monroe County,
Missouri, in June, 1834, he first met the Prophet Joseph Smith. Of him he thus
I first saw him I believed he was one of God's noblemen; and as I grew older
I became thoroughly convinced that he was a true Prophet of God.
incident he relates of the Prophet is the following, given in his ovm words:]
February, 1841, my brother John was in jail, in the hands of the Missourians,
about two hundred miles from home, and my dear widowed mother was very much
concerned about his safety. On one occasion she was crying and fretting about
I saw her in trouble, I asked what was the matter.
replied that she was afraid the Missourians would kill her dear son John, and
she would never see him again.
was strongly impressed to have her let me go to the Prophet Joseph and ask him
if my brother would ever come home. She was very desirous for me to do so. As
the Prophet Joseph only lived about three miles from our house I got on a horse
and rode to his home. When I reached there. Sister Emma Smith said that he and
his son Joseph had just gone up the river near Nauvoo to shoot ducks. I rode
up to them. When the Prophet inquired about my mother's welfare, I told him
that Mother was very sad and downhearted about the safety of her son John; and
she had requested me to come and ask him as a man of God whether my brother
would ever return home.
rested on his gun, and bent his head for a moment as if in prayer or deep reflection.
Then, with a beautiful beaming countenance, full of smiles, he looked up and
told me to go and tell Mother that her son would return in safety inside of
a week. True to the word of the Prophet, he got home in six days after this
occurrence. This was a great comfort to Mother for her son had been absent about
City Weber Co. July 12, 1865
Blessing, By James Lake Patriarch upon the head of Joseph Taylor, son of William
and Elizabeth Taylor, born Warren County, state of Kentucky June 4, 1825.
my beloved son, in the name of Jesus Christ I place my hands upon your head
to seal upon you a father's blessing even all the blessings of Abraham through
the loins of Ephriam. The hand of the Lord has been over you for good all the
days of your life through angels seen and unseen his hand has been over you.
In as much as you have embraced the Gospel in the days of your youth the Lord
is well pleased with the honesty and integrity of your heart. In as much as
you have gathered with the saints to the valleys of the mountains that you might
be instructed more perfectly in the principles of truth and righteousness. The
blessings of the Lord shall attend you and you shall be blessed in your basket
and store. In as much as you are faithful the spirit of the Lord shall be in
and about your habitation. In as much as you are faithful you shall have power
to heal the sick, to cast out unclean spirits, and have faith to do a great
and good work in the Kingdom of God. Your name shall be had in honorable remembrance
in the church and Kingdom of God, and raise up a numerous posterity and you
shall live till you are satisfied with life, even to a good old age, and your
posterity shall be a crown to your gray hairs in your declining years and you
shall be an instrument in the hands of God in instructing your fellow creatures.
And when you have lived out your probation here you shall be gathered with the
saints and have an inheritance with the sanctified in the Kingdom of God. These
blessings I seal upon you by the authority of the Holy Priesthood vested in