[The following is from a handwritten account of the life of Pleasant Green Taylor found in the family record of James Levi Taylor. At present, a copy is on microfilm in the LDS Church Historian's Office. Minor changes in wording and punctuation have been made to improve readability by Michael R. Taylor, a great-great-grandson.]
Harrisville, Weber County, Utah March 6, 1894
The following is a partial account of the life and labors of Pleasant Green Taylor. He was born February 8, 1827 at Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky, the son of William Taylor who was born in one of the Carolinas March 21, 1787, who was the son of Joseph Taylor whom we suppose was born in the same state. Pleasant Green Taylor's mother was Elizabeth Patrick born December 9, 1793. She was daughter of John Patrick whom we presume was also born in one of the Carolinas.
His parents moved to Monroe County, Missouri in the spring of 1830. This part of Missouri, at that time, was a wilderness inhabited by the Red man and numerous wild animals abounded. It was a beautiful country consisting of prairie and timber land. William Taylor had a fine home consisting of some 640 acres of very valuable land.
The Gospel was brought to William Taylor by the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Spring of 1832 and he accepted the Gospel after hearing but one sermon. He was the first to obey the Gospel and the first person baptized into that Church in the State of Missouri. He was soon after ordained an Elder and became an earnest expounder of the doctrines of the Church.
In the fall of 1833, William Taylor gathered with the Saints and settled on Fishing River, Ray County, Missouri. At this place he bought two good farms and remained till the fall of 1834. At this time, on account of persecutions he was compelled in connection with the other Saints located here, to leave his home, for which he received nothing and was also robbed of $500 cash and 75 head of hogs beside much other property.
William Taylor next settled on Long Creek, 8 miles south of Far West in Clay County. At this place he bought 320 acres of land in the fall of 1836. They remained here in this place the Spring of 1837. Pleasant Green Taylor was baptized in Spring of 1837 by Isaac Allred and was confirmed by his father.
The family were all present at the laying of the cornerstone of the temple at Far West. They also moved into this city late in the fall of 1838 and were compelled to camp in the streets. (So many of the Saints had gathered here to escape mob violence that shelter could not be obtained.) The family arrived at night and made their beds upon the ground. The snow fell during the night, to a depth of ten inches, covering their clothing, shoes and stockings as they lay spread upon the ground.
They saw the Prophet Joseph Smith surrender himself to the mob and heard the dreadful noise and confusion made by the mob the night following. Elizabeth Patrick Taylor prepared food and carried it to the brothers who were held as prisoners. While in this condition some of the mob tried to persuade some of Elizabeth's daughters to go with them, and unless they did so, they would share the fate of all the Saints of being destroyed. Elizabeth, using a poking stick, drove them from her camp-fire.
After the surrender of the city the family returned to their home, a distance of 8 miles, and found that about 1,000 of the mob army had camped for two nights at or near their place turning its horses into their cornfield. The mob ate up about 300 bushels of potatoes, 75 geese, 200 chickens and several head of cattle. The mob also destroyed 40 head of hogs, 20 stands of bees and burned about one mile of rail fence in its campfires.
On February 8, 1839 the family again left their home leaving 1,000 bushels of corn in a crib for which they received an old neck yoke valued at $2.50. They received nothing for their farm and improvements. They shared in all the trials and persecutions through which the saints had to pass at this time being expelled from their homes and the State of Missouri by order of Governor Boggs. They journeyed hundreds of miles. Much of the time the weather was very bad, having snow, rain, mud, etc. to contend with.
The people were very unkind to the Saints while on the way, often turning the hungry from their doors. Pleasant Green Taylor, although a mere boy at the time, had remembrances of the journey. He saw a poor woman carrying a child in her arms, apply at the door of a house by the roadside for a morsel of bread for herself and child, the man called her a damned Mormon and told her to go on and gave her nothing to eat. An aged brother and sister by the name of Singleton, who were also sharing in the trials of the Saints, met with misfortunes, losing their only horse, on which they depended to move themselves and their few earthly possessions beyond the reach of the mob. His father unhitched one of his best horses and hitched it to the old gentleman's wagon and told them to take the horse and go in peace. This aged couple were very thankful for the kindness thus shown them.
While upon this journey, through exposure, William Taylor was taken sick and died September 9, 1839. He was buried on the main road between Lima and Warsaw, 5 miles from the former and 8 miles from the latter place on Colonel Levi William's land. Colonel Williams later boasted of having helped to kill the prophet Joseph and also threatened to dig up the body of this noble man of God, William Taylor, and give the same to the hogs. Elizabeth Taylor called upon the boys to gather poles or logs and make a fence around the grave and kept a watch to see that the body was not disturbed.
A short time before his death William Taylor called his children (numbering 14, 7 boys and 7 girls) to his bedside and counseled them to rally round the Priesthood and the main body of the Church also secured a promise from each that they would not marry outside of the Church.
At this place, one Gilurn offered Elizabeth 40 acres of good land if the family would leave the Mormons and stay there. This was no temptation, as she preferred to have a home among the Saints and moved with her family to Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois.
The family had been robbed repeatedly of their possessions until they were very destitute. The Prophet Joseph Smith gave them a lot in the city consisting of about 1 1/2 acres which lay 3/4 mile South from the temple. On this lot the family built a log house one and one half stories high. All the boys remained at home and those old enough labored together unitedly to support the family.
To obtain additional food and support for the family, Pleasant and his brother Joseph went to La Harpe, where they worked for John Gilmore for 25 cents per day and took corn for pay. John Gilmore was not a friend to the Saints, but was much opposed to them. He remarked on one occasion that if he had all the Mormon boys in a line and his large wooden pump was a cannon filled with shot, he would kill them all. This was little comfort to two poor fatherless boys only about 12 years of age who were compelled to labor in a city, among their enemies. He later boasted of helping to kill the Prophet Joseph and said that Joseph was in hell and the devils were shoving hot pitch forks through him.
Not having means to purchase a farm, the family rented the farm of one Winslow Farr and had a share of the crop. They continued to work on this place for 3 years.
Pleasant was ordained to the office of deacon in the year 1840 by Andrew Moore. In the year 1843 he was ordained a Seventy by Hosea Stout.
Pleasant was present at the laying of the cornerstone of the Temple at Nauvoo. He labored every tenth day on the temple and continued to do so until it was completed. He was a member of the Nauvoo Legion, also a member of the police force of the city and often stood guard around the house of the Prophet Joseph Smith at night. He saw one Andrew Calhoun smitten with blindness through the power of God in the Prophet Joseph because of the wickedness of Calhoun. He also saw one Chauncy Higbee draw a gun on Joseph the Prophet and threaten his life and was afterward arrested and fined.
On one occasion Pleasant's sister was very sick so his mother sent him to see if the prophet would come and administer to her. But not having the time, the prophet sent a red silk handkerchief with his blessing and promised him that she should get well. This promise was fulfilled, for she was healed immediately.
Pleasant well remembered the feelings of the Saints when the prophet Joseph left Nauvoo to go to Carthage. He saw the first messenger bearing news of the tragedy to Nauvoo and remembered the feelings the next morning after Joseph and Hyrum were martyred. He was present when the bodies of the martyrs were brought to Nauvoo. The following day he took his mother and sister Sarah to Carthage to see the jail in which the martyrs were confined. They also saw the blood upon the floor.
After the death of Joseph, the question arose as to who should lead the Church. The Twelve Apostles being away on missions, Sidney Rigdon claimed the right to lead the Church, though his claim was not looked upon with favor by the majority of the Saints. Pleasant was present and saw Brigham Young come into the bowery where the Saints had assembled. He as well as hundreds of others arose to their feet and felt sure that Joseph had been resurrected. Even after Brigham began to speak, Pleasant still thought it was the prophet Joseph who was speaking to them.
Pleasant recalled, "I was one of the 500 called out by sheriff (Jacob) Backenstos to go to Warsaw and arrest the men who had killed the prophet. I rode on one of the cannons but on arriving there, the inhabitants having learned of our coming, vacated the city and we only saw three persons. We returned home the same day or rather the night following."
In the spring of 1846 Pleasant was permitted to go with his mother, his brother Joseph and sister Sarah into the temple to receive their endowments.
With Governor Ford and the mob demanding that the Saints leave their homes, the beautiful city and the temple so dear to them, the family accordingly made preparations to obey the demands. The family were called upon by Brigham Young to go among the first and pioneer the way. On February 8, 1846 they crossed the Mississippi River on the ice and camped on Sugar Creek, some 6 miles west. They remained there about 2 weeks. The weather was cold and stormy.
The pioneers then took up their march and, having roads and bridges to construct, they were only able to proceed about 3 miles per day. After about a week they arrived at the Des Moines River. The food consisted of parched corn and wild onions. While in this condition, the Lord sent a large flock of quail into the camp. Hundreds were gathered up and prepared as food for which the camp was very thankful, for surely they were needing a change.
Brother Brigham Young took an active part in helping. The teams being weak for want of food and unable to draw the load to which they were attached. Pleasant many times saw this man of God take hold of a rope with other men and help the poor teams to draw the wagons over bad places and up hills.
Pleasant assisted in building houses and fencing a large farm at Garden Grove then went on to (Mt.) Pisga. He also assisted here in building homes and fencing a farm and thus forming stopping places for the Saints.
While at Mt. Pisga, President Young advised Pleasant to return and assist his mother. After going about one hundred miles nearly naked and barefoot, he met his mother driving her team of oxen. He returned to Mt. Pisga with her and then proceeded as far as Council Bluffs. Pleasant remembered, "My mother had made me a suit of clothes with her own hands. It is not necessary to say that I was grateful to her for a kind and good mother she was." [The history changes to the first person.]
While here at Council Bluffs, the Government of the United States called upon our people to furnish 500 men to go into the Mexican War. At this time I had gone down into Missouri to labor to obtain food and on learning of this call I returned on a Sunday morning about 8 o'clock. My brother Joseph and I went immediately after breakfast and enlisted. The next day I was taken sick from exposure. I had a fever which lasted about 4 weeks. By the time I recovered, the army had been gone about 3 weeks. I was desirous to follow them but by the persuasion of my mother, I remained.
We settled on Pigeon Creek also called Allred's Branch. Here, with the assistance of my younger brothers, we built mother a house. After making mother as comfortable as possible my brother William and I went once more down into Missouri to obtain provisions.
On February 2, 1847, I was married to Clara, daughter of James Lake and Philomela Smith Lake. We were married by Thomas Dodson.
Six days after marriage, I went to Missouri to work and obtain means to enable us to continue our journey to the vales of Salt Lake. I obtained work at 38 cents per day during the winter or early spring of 1848. I returned home and spent the summer farming. In the fall and winter I returned again to Missouri and spent most of the winter breaking hemp and I obtained the means to buy a team. I returned in the spring of 1849. I gave this team to my mother to enable her to move to the valley. She started about the first of May. During this summer I farmed again.
On October 6, 1849 my first child, a son, was born, Harvey Green Taylor. After my fall work was done, I returned again to Missouri and labored during the following winter to obtain more means to enable me to gather with the Saints. My brother Joseph had by this time returned from the Mexican war and accompanied me during this winter. We were successful in obtaining sufficient means so that in the Spring of 1850 we could go.
We crossed the Missouri River May 10, 1850 and were organized into companies of tens, fifties and hundreds. We had much sickness. The cholera made its appearance among us and claimed many victims.
On arriving at Sweet Water, the camp organization broke up. Snow had fallen and some became concerned as to our safety. Those having the strongest teams went on and left many of their less fortunate brethren and sisters behind. They tried hard to persuade me to go with them. I refused to go and told them that I would stay and live and die with the Saints and would not forsake my friends in an hour of peril.
I was called to be captain of those left behind some 35 wagons. The Lord was with us and we arrived at the valley only one day behind the others. We arrived in Salt Lake valley September 5, 1850, coming in by way of Parley's Canyon. We found brother Allen collecting tolls, this being a toll road and had been placed there for that purpose.
We came on to Hayte Creek in Keyes Hills, Davis County. I fenced 10 acres of land but water was so scarce that this was not a desirable place to live. While at this place, my second child, a son, was born, Levi James Taylor, May 20, 1851. Times were very hard and to obtain bread for myself and family, I labored hard for 1/4 bushel of wheat per day. I raised about 100 bushels of wheat on my 10 acres the first year.
In the fall of 1851 I came to Weber County in hopes of finding another place more desirable, where I could have more land and water. Lorin Farr presided over the Saints in this county. I went to him and made my wants known. Although he was very busy at the time, yet he left his work and brought me to what has ever since been my home.
It is situated on the 4 Mile Creek (it being 4 miles north of Ogden). Here I found a most desirable spot, there being a good supply of water and plenty of good land. One Stewart had settled here but, having killed an Indian for stealing corn, he brought the ill will of other Indians and to save his life, left the country. This was the first Indian killed in the valley by our people.
I labored most of the following winter drawing polls from the Weber River with which to fence my farm. In March 1862 I moved my family to my new home having built a small log house of one room. I raised a good crop this season, my land yielding about 30 bushels per acre. I had about 15 acres under cultivation.
In the fall of 1852 I was elected constable of this precinct. I also assisted in building meeting and school houses.
On January 10, 1853 my third child, another son, Alfred William, was born. My wife was very sick for sometime thereafter and I came near to losing her. During this season I attended to my farm and raised a good crop.
In July of 1853 on account of the hostility of the Indians, President Young called upon us to move to certain points and make forts of safety. Accordingly, I moved my family to what is known as Bingham Fort. At this place I assisted in building a wall of defense. Some 110 families assembled at this place. This being about 2 miles from my farm. We had to be continually on our guard. I used to take my gun with me when I had need to go to my farm.
This season, 1854, I also tended my farm. In the winter following I was called on to take 8 men and arrest a band of Indians for stealing. We succeeded and brought them to our fort where we guarded them during the winter.
By the spring of 1855 I had enlarged my farm and had put in 40 acres and was done planting by Conference time (April 6). I took my team of oxen and went to Salt Lake City, a distance of some 40 miles to attend Conference. There and then I was called to go on a mission among the Indians or Lamanites. I was set apart by some of the Twelve Apostles to go and preach to that people. Brigham Young promised us that if we were faithful we should be blessed of the Lord and that we should have the privilege of seeing one of the three Nephite Apostles. President Young also promised us that the Lamanites would come to meet us and insist on us baptizing them.
We started on May 15, 1855 upon our mission, some 25 of us. Elder Thomas Smith was our president. We were called to go into the north country, some hundreds of miles. We had proceeded as far as Portneoff, when we saw Indians coming for fully five miles. Before they could reach us they had to cross the Snake and Portneoff Rivers. They did not hesitate a moment but plunged into the river and swam their horses across. They came and remained with us overnight. They journeyed with us the next day. At noon they, not being able to talk our language and we had not yet learned to talk with them, they went down to the river and made motions showing us that they wished us to baptize them. Accordingly, President Smith went into the water and baptized all of them (5). They were very friendly to us and remained with us as we journeyed some 200 miles.
We settled on the Salmon River and built a fort, calling it Fort Limhi. President Young had told us to go and identify ourselves with the Indians or Lamanites. The following day after our arrival at that place, some 500 Lamanites came to our camp and were very friendly. Many fathers among them brought their daughters and desired us to marry them. But we did not understand the meaning of the term "identify" as used by President Young. He knew that if we should take this course, it would have the effect of uniting us and causing them to remain our friends. When they found we would not take their daughters they departed.
In August I was sent back to bring the mail. On arriving home I found my family well. I remained about 2 weeks and returned to my mission home.
We were busy the rest of the fall building and fencing and making ready to raise a crop the next season. I continued to learn the language of these people and took as a task ten words each day, and succeeded well. We were also busy teaching this people our language and teaching them how to work. We held meetings on Sundays. Many Indians would attend our meetings. They were willing to obey the Gospel. They were generally kind to us, some coming for a long distance to see us. Many of them had never seen a white man before.
In the spring of 1856, we put in about 100 acres of grain but the grasshoppers took all of it. Our seed grain as well as our bread had to be brought from Utah, a distance of some 300 miles.
I returned home about the first of June and remained about a month. I had the pleasure of the company of President Young, Heber C. Kimball and some of the Apostles on my journey back to my mission. All the brethren of the mission were pleased to be thus honored to have the Prophet of God among them. He was not satisfied with our location and said it was the wrong place, which we afterward found to be true. President Young asked the President of the mission why we had not "identified" ourselves with Israel. Brother Smith replied that he did not understand what he meant by the term. President Kimball told us to go now and take their daughters to wife, to which President Young replied that Brother Kimball says for you to "go and get you wives from among the daughters of these Lamanites," but I do not say for you to marry them but I say for you to go and try, for I think the time is past. It is now too late.
That very day I took 8 of my brethren with me and went out among the Indians and we tried hard to get them to marry us but they said no. President remained with us about 2 weeks.
This fall I went with some of my brethren back to Utah to obtain provisions for the winter. We remained at home but a few days. Having secured our loads, we once more returned to our northern home and arrived there in November.
I now made ready to fill a mission or requirement made of me by President Young. On December 5, 1856 brother B. F. Cummings and myself started on this journey, a distance of 185 miles north. The snow was deep and the weather was very cold and we suffered much. The object of our mission was to try and obtain by purchase the Fort Hall reservation. We had thought that the agent would be there but our mission was of little benefit for we did not find him, hence we did not accomplish what we desired. We returned on January 1, 1857.
I remained at the mission only 11 days and in connection with President Smith, we started for Salt Lake with mail. We were one month on the way. We had a very hard journey much of the way, the snow being deep and much of the way we could not travel more than from 3 to 5 miles per day. We suffered much from cold and exposure. Our clothing being thin yet through the blessing of God we finally arrived at our homes.
I spent some time as a missionary among the Saints, this being what is known as the time of the reformation. I baptized and rebaptized in one day some 65 persons.
After a short labor we returned, and on arriving on the banks of the Snake River, found the water to be about 15 feet deep. On entering the watery element, I found it to be a swift current, which carried us down the stream a distance of one mile before reaching the opposite bank. We then continued, it being in the Spring we were able to travel to better advantage, but not all together peacefully, as the Indians manifest a hostility towards the whites.
As we were traveling, by means of horses, at the late hour of 10 o'clock, we suddenly confronted 6 or 8 large Indian bucks, painted as Indians do in time of war, with arrow in hand, commanding us to halt. We accordingly unmounted our steeds, pistols firmly held, we awaited further commands. The Indians immediately bore me off to the left leaving Lewis W. Shurtliff with one of their men. I charged Lewis to keep his gun on the Indian and, if he made a move, to shoot him down. I continued with these red skins until we reached their tent. Here they enjoyed themselves while sitting around the campfire smoking their pipe, but I was not permitted to smoke with them. I used all the persuasive powers in my possession to show them we were friends to the red man, and their true positions as Lamanites, their ancient fathers. I finally effected their feelings insomuch that they were willing to allow us to go a short distance where we could camp for the night. This agreed, we continued back to where I left Lewis.
We were to walk and had the horses, but I could see a way must be prepared to escape. I convinced the Indians that my brother could not walk, and accordingly he was permitted to ride. I gave a slight jerk on the reins of my horse, and back he went showing that he would not lead, I was then permitted to ride. After getting them just in the rear, I gave the word, and in a moment, we were out of their reach. Thus delivered from our foe, we continued our journey in peace to the mission.
On our return, all were busy in preaching to and baptizing the Indians, during which time I baptized 65 into the Church in one day. President Smith went to Salt Lake and I was left in charge of the mission. During the summer of 1857 we also built a grist mill. I did the trading for our people with the Indians. During this season we planted 100 acres and were busy harvesting and other labors pertaining to such. It seems that during this period that the Indians were friendly and were willing to accept the Gospel. We were successful in harvesting about 2,000 bushels of grain this season. At October Conference, about 20 Elders were called and in the latter part of November they joined us in our labors. On their arrival to the mission, our labors were widened so that we were of the necessity of building an additional fort about 2 miles distant.
The Government of the United States sent an army to Utah and a small number of them were sent up to Idaho to stir up strife and contentions with the Indians against our people. During the month of December, we lost an ox, stolen by the Indians. I was called upon to take 5 men and follow them. After traveling a distance of 30 miles over mountains, we overtook them, and not being able to get the stolen oxen, we accepted a horse instead. Thus accomplishing our object, we returned. But the following night our horses were stampeded by the Indians, but being prepared for such, our horses were held in safety. Although poorly clad and the cold to contend with we reached home in safety.
About January 1, 1857, 14 solders came into the country and called the Indians together and paid these Indians to go and steal our cattle, also to kill all the Mormons, making them believe that we were there to take possession of all the country. This caused great hostilities with the Indians towards us.
In 1857 on April 6, I married Jane Narcissus Shurtliff, Daughter of Luman Andrus Shurtliff and Eunice Bagg Gaylord. In October of that year she accompanied me to my mission and was present during all of our trouble with the Indians.
In the fall of 1857, two of our brethren started for Salt Lake. After their departure, reports came to us that they were held as prisoners by these solders. I was called upon by President Smith to take 10 men and go in pursuit. But through an act of the Indians, by stealing 4 of our best horses from the stable at 10 o'clock at night, our pursuit was slowed. With the ground covered with snow and a keen air, we started in search of our brethren. Over hill and through valley we journeyed, destitute of wood and food, we were dependent upon the providence of God. The brethren seemingly depended upon me for support. I accordingly rode a short distance from the boys, which were journeying Eastward. I saw the form of a man's hand facing before me, pointing to the North. I called for the boys to follow and after traveling a distance of 3 miles, we came to the Indian camps. Thus we were turned by the hand of providence and placed upon the trail of the stolen horses. Riding up to the tents, the Indians came out denying the charge we preferred against them. Through threats finally commanding one of them to locate the way to where the horses were grazing. In the Indians absence, I searched the tents for the thief, and after a diligent search, I found him beneath the saddle blankets. Our horses secured, we left.
Starting home, we did so with great caution, as the government troops had stationed 500 Indians a few miles distance. If they were notified of our presence and they would immediately follow, and if they should overtake, perhaps they would kill all of us. We traveled almost day and night, it being one of the coldest days I ever experienced. This was all that saved us, as the Indians followed in close pursuit, but through fear of freezing had returned and left us to go on in peace. Before reaching home, however, our food ran short, thus we were compelled to fast in this cold and fatigued condition for a period of 30 hours. We reached home in safety.
About January 15, 1858, I had a dream, by inspiration, which follows: I saw a small dark cloud but very black with lightning in great rapidity. It rose in the north and came directly to the fort, after which it turned and took an easterly direction, settling down in quietude. The morning came and my brothers, William and Levi came up from the New Fort to see me. I was uneasy concerning my dream. I took the privilege of relating to them my dream and insisted upon them to go at once and bring their families, cattle, etc. to my place, for I knew there was going to be trouble with the Indians. They complied with my wishes. President Smith heard of my dream and came to see me. He gave it as his opinion that all would be well. He did not however bring any objections to the people coming up. Before night every family, about 30 souls in all, came up to the old fort.
In the early morning a number of the brethren with ox teams started down to the new fort for hay. After the wagons were all loaded and had started back, the little cloud from the north burst forth with its rapidity of lightning. It being 500 Indians, painted and very hostile. They came yelling and shooting upon them. The Indians killed one man and wounded others. They set fire to the loads of hay. Oxen were still hitched to the burning mass. The oxen ran wildly through the timbers trying to relieve themselves from what seemed sure death.
The furious Indians then turned towards the east, where all of our cattle numbering 400 and about 100 head of horses were grazing, attended to by 2 or 3 of our brethren. The Indians killed one brother while the remaining brother escaped. The Indians then took possession of all our stock. Thus was my dream fulfilled. Many were the manifestations given me and whenever I rendered obedience to the same, all was well.
Several of our brethren were gone, and I, by the consent of President Smith, took half of the men and went in search of our lost brothers. We packed up our clothing and started. On arriving in the hills, we found that they fairly swarmed with Indians. We found George McBride dead and scalped. Also we found Andrew Quigly, who had been pierced by an arrow shot by the redskins, although life was not yet extinct. Taking from our backs our clothing, we placed the dead and dying upon them and started for the camp. But not all together peacefully, as we were of necessity to lay our precious burden down and raise our guns in self-defense. Thus with much difficulty, we marched home. Such was the condition of the few. It was like snatching the prey from the lion's grasp.
That night a wounded brother came into my house for refuge. A strong guard was stationed around the fort that night. The next morning there was still one man missing, accordingly I, in connection with others, went in search. We succeeded in finding him and in like manner carried him home amid wild shrieks and gruff voices that fairly made the air whistle. On arriving at the fort, all were busy in making the necessary preparations for defense.
Our president called two men to go to Utah for assistance. These brethren had to use a great deal of caution in their course of travel, and to avoid being tracked, waded a stream of water a distance of 5 miles.
He who is acquainted with the traits of an Indian may well imagine their course. 500 Indians, well provided with the implements of war, together with their skill, compared with 30 men, anxious for the protection of their families, is no comparison. Scythes were straightened with handles annexed to them which were to be used if the Indians attempted to climb over the wall. Port holes were made and guns applied to the same.
There we stood with scythes in hand, ready to cut down, like new mown hay, those whom we had come to preach the Gospel too. The Indians would stand off at a distance with the scalp they had taken from their friends perched high on a pole, as if to say "you shall be served likewise." The women were energetic and helpful in every blessed way they could.
The night was at hand that the Indians had determined upon that their plans might be put in execution. But lo! The Lord was present and presented for our timely aid, a band of 300 brethren, who dispelled the Indians in great confusion.
The Indians were now camped off a distance of 10 miles; the necessary preparations were made and we went down with the intention of making a "treaty". I was in the advance guard. Before reaching the main body of Indians, the Chief had sent his guard to see if we wanted to fight. On finding that we desired peace, and after making known to them the fact that we were going to leave, it seemed to have a great effect on the Indians. They were very anxious to have us remain and acknowledged that they had indeed done wrong, yes they even shed tears. Peace thus secured, we returned on the same day.
We were now all called home, after a labor of three years. Thus our mission ended. All were now very busy collecting their goods and making the necessary preparations to go to Utah. We had about 2,000 bushels of grain, all of which we left to be used at the discretion of the Indians. I lost property valued at $5,500 during this mission. All were now ready to leave by April, 1858. Seemingly our mission is now ended for the present. Much has been done in the short season among the Indians.
It being in the Spring, we had much rain and mud to contend with. All went well until we came into the Snake River Valley. Brother Baily Lake and others were sent in advance of the main company with the mail, when they came into contact with Indians, in which Brother Lake was killed and scalped. As we continued in the rear, we did not know of Brother Lake's death until he was found by one of our company. This brought a gloomy feeling over the company, as he was an esteemed brother. His body was brought to Utah for burial. After a month's tedious travel, we came into Utah. Our families were well.
Johnson's Army had been held at bay during the winter. Brigham had called upon the people to move south, and accordingly the Saints were preparing to leave. I moved my family to Spanish Fork.
This army had come to kill all our people and take possession of the country, but through the wisdom of God and the skill of our President, the people were permitted to retain their homes. A treaty made, and peace prevailed, we were at liberty to return. While here, a son was born of Jane N. Taylor, my third wife, by the name of John E. Taylor. In the month of July we moved home.
In the month of July 1858, I was married to Sarah Jane Lake, a widow of Baily Lake. She was left a widow with four children.
On arriving home, we found that we were almost destitute of food. I at once commenced working out by the day. It being harvesting time, I found labor in the grain fields. Brother William Dixon hired me to cut 22 acres of wheat; George Lake also hired me to cut 20 acres for him, making 42 acres, all of which I cut in eight and one-half days using a scythe. I received one bushel per acre. I also cut 20 acres of hay for George Lake, receiving one and one-half bushels of wheat per acre. During the winter of 1858 I lived in Ogden, and was called upon or elected constable. I also labored as a home missionary.
I was also elected captain of the police force. Also, at the same time, I was elected captain of seventy-five men called "minute men". I had charge of these men for eleven years. During this time the Indians were very troublesome and required a great deal of watching. My presence was therefore often summoned to different parts of this mountain region.
Not alone were the Indians in their stealing, but the whites in some instances were equally as bad. Many times justice has required me to follow thieves into the North country and secure stolen property, and return it to the rightful owner.
During the summer of 1860 I was called into the High Council, which office I held for twelve years. Often Brigham Young would call upon me to take a part of my company of "minute men" and accompany him to different parts of the North country as a protection against evil designing men.
In the year 1861, I invested $3,000.00, all of which I borrowed, in horn stock. About this time, I was called to superintend the cooperative sheep and cattle companies, which required no little exertion on my part. Never was I so wrapped up in financial affairs, but what I could always find time to labor in spiritual things. I labored with D. H. Pury, Limon Shurtliff and many others in the missionary work.
About the year 1862, our governor called out the militia to suppress the actions of the Moresites, who claimed that all cattle in the hills and elsewhere belonged to the Lord, and they therefore had the right to kill and eat at their leisure, nor would they pay taxes to the government. Hence the governor called out the troops to suppress them. I was one and fought four days before over powering the enemy
My labors in general were for up to 70 as above described. It required considerable time and labor attending to my stock and home duties. It required hard work to attain a comfortable livelihood.
By order of the High Council, I took twelve men and destroyed the first saloon ever in Ogden, it being a public (nuisance) detriment. Also at the time the railroad came through another saloon was brought in our midst, accordingly, I by request, destroyed the second saloon.
On the 13th of November, 1871, my son, Levi J. Taylor and wife came home from his temple marriage. A well prepared dinner was awaiting their return. Also the young people went forth and enjoyed themselves in a party at night.
On the day following, the 15th, I started on my mission to Kentucky. I enjoyed myself splendidly. I baptized one person into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. We had a great many kin folk in that state. One day while visiting my aged uncle, 95 years old, a Campballite minister was present. On learning that I was a Mormon Elder, he commenced pacing up and down the floor abusing our people. I finally commenced walking the floor also. He at last exclaimed "Brigham Young is an imposter." I, with all my force, struck him, his head and shoulders striking the floor first, and the blood oozed freely from the wound. My uncle ordered the minister to leave his house. The people, in general, sustained me in what I had done. On the following Saturday he was found to visit a house of ill fame and was dismissed from his position. Brigham Young sustained me in defending the Prophet of God.
The "Mountain Meadows Massacre" had caused a bitter feeling among the various states against our people. It was principally to make known the real facts concerning this event that I was called.
I acted as councilor to Daniel Rawson up to the year 1877, at which time on May 26, 1877, I was set apart as Bishop of Harrisville. On the 16th of September, 1877 I was set apart as President of the Priests Quorum including Harrisville and North Ogden. William Rawson and Dudly Chase were my councilors. President D. H. Pury set me apart to this office.
On the 1st of May, 1878 my barn and sheds were set on fire and burned to the ground by my two youngest sons, William H. and Walter, ages 4 and 5 years. Loss estimated at $1500. No insurance.
On the 14th of April, 1879, I was taken sick with the typhoid fever. I was for some time considered dangerously ill. Apostle Franklin D. Richards, on hearing of my sickness, came from St George to see me. He administered to me and promised me health and strength: also that I should build a fine house. After a sickness of about three months, I was able to go out. It had a great effect upon my constitution.
From 1857 to 1869 I assisted in the emigration of the poor, sending from one to four yoke of oxen for that purpose.
In the year 1886 President John Taylor, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith, Apostles Wilford Woodruff and Franklin D. Richards visited Harrisville in a ward conference. Many were the good instructions given by these men of God. They came home and ate dinner with me, after which I took them to Ogden in my carriage.
On March 21, 1882 an ecclesiastical organization was effected for the purpose of holding property belonging to the Church according to law. I was appointed president over the same.
On the 25th day of October, 1880 my mother died at my house. She was under the care of Jane U. Taylor. She was 87 years old and had lived with me nine years previous to her death. Her funeral service was one of the largest I ever saw.
October 17, 1882 my son Levi J. Taylor was called to fill a mission to the Southern States Mission.
April 20, 1886 Apostle John W. Taylor visited our ward in a meeting capacity, after which he came home with me and ate dinner.
About this time, I was compelled to leave my home and families and seek shelter elsewhere. The U. S. Congress passed a law forbidding plural marriages. Rather than going to the pen for obeying the commands of God, I preferred leaving my home for a short time. Thus I was hunted and on the 14th of May 12 officers came to my house, surrounded it and hunted through every department, but their man had flown. Yet they were not satisfied until they searched all the country round about. After they were satisfied that I was not at home, they subpoenaed most of my family that were at home to appear before the Grand Jury. Not being allowed to appear in public, for fear of being detected, I often called my boys together, in some quiet, secluded place at night that I might counsel together upon things spiritually and temporally.
February 22, 1887, my son Levi was arrested by the officers on the charge of unlawful cohabitation, and on the 28th of May following was sentenced to six months imprisonment.
As I could not have my liberty at home, I concluded to go to Canada where a number of our brethren had all ready gone. Accordingly on the 3rd of May 1888, Noah L. Shurtliff, my councilor, and myself started by means of a horse team. We found it to be a tedious journey, the roads at times were rough and muddy. When within 8 miles of Lee's Creek, we met Brother Card and others, who had come to meet us. We were welcomed and by their assistance a skiff was made, which carried us over St. Mary's river. We were taken to Lee's Creek, a nicely located town, consisting of about 40 families of our people. We lived with Brother Card until we got a house. We reached the end of our destination on the 28th of June, a distance of 850 miles in 20 days.
We at once commenced preparations to build our house, after some labor upon the lot chosen on which to build our house, we went after logs which we found to be a tedious journey. It was raining on us most of the time. Not being used to being wet, I took a very severe cold. I was unwell during my stay in Canada after taking cold. We did however get our logs and returned with the same. Our house built, we were very busy plowing, fencing and other buildings erected. The two acres of land, I fenced, plowed and planted it to turnips. My crop did well, when I returned home I left about 500 bushels on the ground. Up to the 28th of August, we were very busy putting up hay, and bringing in a supply of coal for Mary, Noah's wife, previous to going home. My sundry expenses while in Canada were $162.00.
On the 18th of August, 1888 my wife Jane N. Taylor and her two sons Orson S. and William H. in connection with Jacob Thomas started for Canada. I had intended to make Canada my home but changed my mind. Accordingly, I wrote to her to start on the above date. Harvey G. was managing affairs in my absence. He bought a new wagon, selected 15 cows, a good team, saddle horse, tents, a sheet iron stove and money enough to take them there. Thus they went prepared to live for a while in Canada. But after an absence of two weeks, I wrote a letter home for them not to start until I sent further word, but the letter arrived too late.
I had made up my mind to go home and give myself up to the officers of the law, and on the 28th of August, Noah and myself by means of a wagon, started home. I did not know of the fact that my family had gone until I reached home. About 300 miles North, we passed each other perhaps not more then two miles apart. In passing over the hill at this division we found two roads, one passing to the right, while the other turned to the left. We took the left coming and they the left going. Thus we continued not aware of each other.
On arriving home I at once sent Green on the train to over take them. He found them a few miles beyond Helena, Montana. My wife came home on the train, while the boys sold the cows and returned home the night I went to the pen. The whole affair made my expenses very high. Coming home from Canada we made the trip in 17 days, a distance of 850 miles, averaging about 50 miles per day.
I counseled with Franklin D. Richards concerning my intentions also Brother Perry and others, and it met their approval. After remaining around my district for about one month, I went over to Ogden where I stayed all night with D. W. Perry, and the night previous to entering the court room stayed all night with Francis Brown.
Lawyer Emerson by request came down that evening and expressed himself as being sure that the judge would be easy on me. Next morning Mr. Emerson entered the court and asked the judge if he would be light on Mr. Taylor, if he would come in from Canada and give himself up to the officers. The Judge answered in the affirmative and in one hour I entered the courtroom. There were present many of the officers who had so often tried to serve the warrant on me but failed. They looked upon me with a great deal of astonishment, but no more however than the judge on hearing that I was present and ready for a hearing. The judge told me that "if I would consent to obey the law, that I would not go to the penitentiary" but I refused, preferring a few months imprisonment, or years if necessary, than to deny or disavow my family, or any part of it. He therefore pronounced my sentence, three months imprisonment and a $350 fine.
On the evening of October 12, 1888, I went to the Salt Lake Penitentiary for the above mentioned facts. On entering the pen I had no bed clothing as they were down at the depot and no way of getting them. The warden refused to get them, and for three weeks I had no covering except an overcoat. I finally succeeded in hiring them to be brought to me which cost $5.00.
There were 140 Mormon men in prison the same time I was, all for the same offence, President George Q. Cannon was present. The spirit of God was present, although in prison. President Cannon and myself administered to a very sick Brother, President Cannon being mouth. The blessings of God were made manifest in this brother's behalf, as he was healed instantaneously.
They shaved my face, clopped my hair, vested me of all my clothing, and in its stead placed a stripped suit on my person. From or through being shaven, I took cold and the result was I suffered very much with a tooth ache and nagging neuralgia. We were kept busy carrying water, cleaning our cells, etc. Members of my family came down and visited me.
On December 29, 1888, I was released. My sons Levi and Alfred, also Peter Later were present awaiting my release. While here I had lost my hat and had to pick up an old hat to wear home. On the way down to the depot, we met President Cannon, who seeing my old hat took it from my head, and placed $4.00 in its place, putting the old one on his head. After my arrival home, a large number of the Saints had assembled at the adobe school house with a well provided dinner, and many selections most appropriate for the occasion. It was a day long to be remembered.
[ The balance of the journal was completed by one of the children of Pleasant Green Taylor, most likely Levi James Taylor. ]
February 8, 1894. This is my father's birthday, he is sixty seven years old. Most of the members of the ward assembled at the meeting house to do honors to our Bishop. There were two tables extending the length of the house spread with good things to eat and a brass band also was present. This all had been done without his knowledge. He was requested to come to the meeting house on business. As he stepped inside the door the band began to play. It was a great surprise to him. A fine easy chair was presented to him besides other things. Over two hundred sat down to the tables and partook of the feast, after which we had music and speeches. After spending about four hours all returned home happy in bestowing honor upon whom it was due.
The Bishop testified he was present and saw the mantle of Joseph the Prophet rest upon Brigham Young, for he looked and spoke like the Prophet Joseph.
September 1, 1896. Released as Bishop. Lewis W. Shurtliff, President of the Stake, said he had been acquainted with Bishop Taylor for forty five years and associated with him in various ways. They performed missionary labors together. They filled a mission among the Indians and traveled thousands of miles and he had never known Bishop Taylor to fail to do his duty. President Shurtliff had looked upon him as a worthy example, he himself had been much benefited by him. He testified that none have gone astray who have accepted his counsel and followed his example. President Shurtliff said that President Wilford Woodruff had expressed a very warm feeling and it was thought best on account of his age and infirmities to release him with a vote of thanks. This was done and many shed tears. Also at this time Franklin D. Richards ordained Levi J. Taylor to fill the position of Bishop.
February 8, 1897. Father was seventy years old and on the twenty seventh he had been married fifty years and the family celebrated the event in a fitting manner.
February 8, 1898. Father is seventy one years old. His health is good and his hearing is very dull, but he seldom fails to attend meetings as he says for example's sake.
February 11, 1900. Remarks by Pleasant G. Taylor. He said he had stood guard many nights around the home of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He was at Carthage Jail the next day after the Prophet Joseph and his Brother Hyrum were martyred. He saw the stains of blood on the floor. The keeper testified that they had tried every way to remove the stains of blood but could not do it. He was with his mother and her family when Sidney Rigdon presented himself as Joseph's successor. He saw brother Brigham Young when he came in as he and hundreds more arose to their feet they thought he was the Prophet Joseph. All who were there had no doubt who was the proper man to lead latter day Israel.
June 15, 1900. Clara Lake Taylor, wife of Pleasant Green Taylor, died today. Apostle John H. Smith said "a more faithful wife and mother never lived", and that she was a faithful Latter-Day Saint.
December 25, 1901. A reunion of the family of P. G. Taylor. He says twenty seven children, seventeen boys and ten girls and all present. During this reunion there were many interesting members on the program. At about 12 noon tables were spread and hundreds partook of the good things to eat. After dinner speeches were in order. President Lewis W. Shurtliff said there will never fail to be a prophet in this family and there will also be bishops, presidents and apostles ordained from this family. He also testified of his love and esteem for Pleasant Green Taylor and family. President Charles F. Middleton and Joseph Parry (old friends) testifies of their love and confidence in father. Most of my brothers and sisters and father's wives Mary, Jane and Sarah Jane spoke with great freedom, there being much of the Spirit of the Lord present and they decided to have freedom of speech. This is a day never to be forgotten.
September 21, 1905. I went with father to attend a reunion of the family at Grant, Idaho. A fine program was given and about one hundred of his grand children marched around the house. Hundreds sat down to tables loaded with good things to eat.
February 8, 1909. This is fathers eighty second birthday and several of his children came down from Idaho. We met them and called on father in a body and took him by surprise and his heart was caused to rejoice to see the love and respect his family have for him. We all had dinner and enjoyed together and enjoyed the day very much.
August 19, 1909. Held reunion of the Taylor family at Harrisville. Fred G. Taylor acted as master of ceremonies. There were members of the family from Kentucky, Kansas and Idaho. About 600 were present. President John H. Smith, Lewis W. Shurtliff, Charles F. Middleton, Joseph Parry and other visitors were present. A great feast was prepared and all partook and enjoyed the day very much.
August 20, 1909. About 300 of the family went up to Ogden Canyon to the Hermitage and spent another good day together. After dinner another good meeting and all returned home feeling this was one of the best reunions ever held by the Taylor family.
August 21, 1909. Sunday. Went to Salt Lake City with some of our visitors, Joseph Davenport and Mary Taylor of Kansas. We attended services at the Tabernacle. We hired a sightseeing car and went around the city. We then went out to Saltair and returned home having had a very pleasant day. Our visitors seemed to enjoy the day very much. Thus closed one of the most remarkable gatherings ever held by the Taylor family and we hope much good will grow out of it.
November 15-17, 1909. At Richardsville, Warren County, Kentucky was held a great reunion of the Joseph Taylor family and Pleasant G. Taylor bore much of the expense of sending his son Levi J. Taylor as a delegate from the western branch of the family. There were 600-800 people present from 11 different states. A large tent was erected in a beautiful grove where Joseph and Sarah Best Taylor settled in 1809. We were made welcome and in the forenoon I (Levi J. Taylor) was called on to speak. I reported how numerous the William Taylor branch of the family had become through the blessings of the Lord. Most of this branch had come west. The reunion had an interesting program and a feast of good things at noon.
November 17, 1909. Sunday many people again assembled. The sacrament was passed and nearly all partook. A splendid sermon was preached by President William Taylor. A good spirit prevailed. At noon another feast was served. In the PM many matters of business were presented and a family organization effected known as the Joseph Taylor family organization. Joseph Taylor of Mulberry, Kansas was made president, Dr. Simeon D. Taylor of Beaver, Kentucky was made first vice president and Levi J. Taylor of Utah was made second vice president. A strong desire was expressed to gather all the genealogy of the Taylor family and to erect a monument to mark the resting place of that grand couple Joseph and Sarah Best Taylor. This was to be done by popular subscription. (This was accomplished in the year 1930 and manly by a strong and persistent effort on the part of Fred G. Taylor.)
May 12, 1912. Patriarchs George W. Larkins and David McKay called on father and sent for me (Levi J. Taylor). We spent a few hours together offering encouragement. We laid our hands on father and blessed him before departing. This was the beginning of the annual meetings of the patriarchs of the stakes of Zion in Weber County, which have been held since.
July 6, 1912. Went with father and brother Alexander to Salt Lake City to meet a cousin Aaron Taylor of Bowling Green, Kentucky. He had written to us that he would be there and expressed a desire to meet us. We spent a pleasant day together. We gave them a good dinner and visited various places of interest. We had a brief visit with President Joseph F. Smith who greeted us nicely and asked God to bless our cousin Aaron Taylor when we parted. We think that a good impression was made for they assured us that if any of our folks came to their home, they would be taken care of.
December 24, 1916. Father is making a present to all of his 25 children, he has 10 girls and 15 boys, he is sending $40 to each of his boys and $35 to each of his girls. I assisted in making out the checks.
February 8, 1917. Father is ninety years old today. Nearly all of his children and many old friends met him to do him honor. We met at the meeting house where a splendid program was put on. Fred G. Taylor was in charge. Remarks by President Lewis W. Shurtliff who brought a message of love from President Joseph F. Smith. A fine large cake costing $50 was brought from Idaho by the family. The cake had 90 candles, each to represent a year of his life. A bouquet containing 90 carnations and costing $12 was presented by the Relief Society.
Father made a beautiful talk and urged all to be faithful. He testified again that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that this is the true church and the work of the Lord. He said further that his life had been extended that he might bear witness of these things. Many of the family spoke with great freedom and expressed love for father and each other. Much of the Spirit of the Lord was present. All partook of a good dinner and parted feeling it to be one of the best days that they had ever known.
A report of the amount of temple work was reported. Levi J. Taylor was re-sustained as President and given authority to appoint vice presidents in each branch of the family. He made the following appointments: John A. Taylor, Joseph A. Taylor, John A. Allred, George Bennet, James Criddell, James Green Taylor, Heber Smith, Eli Harvey Stout and Joseph Albert Taylor as secretary and treasurer.
May 16, 1917. Father died at 15 of ten o'clock this morning after quite a long illness. He seemed to have no pain. His last statement was "tell my children if they do not pay their tithing, they cannot come where I am going."
May 20, 1917. The funeral services were held in our meeting house, some 500 being present. The house was filled to capacity. The speakers were President Lewis W. Shurtliff, L. S. Harris, James Weatherspoon, Presiding Patriarch Hyrum G. Smith, Apostle George Albert Smith and Bishop R. R. Brown. They each said father had been a great and good man. Patriarch James Taylor offered the opening prayer, Patriarch Robert McQuarry the closing prayer and Patriarch David McKay dedicated the grave.
[ This is the end of the journal. ]