Thursday, June 30, 2011

Before and After Mt. Pisgah -- Part 6

by Clare B. Christensen

F. Walter Cox’s Families Go West

In the spring of 1852 “at Silver Creek, Mills County, Iowa, F. Walter Cox had been making all possible preparation to move his families to the Rocky Mountains. He had been building his own wagons and getting food and supplies on hand. Since mostof the summer would be required to travel and there would be no time to raise crops, he had to have food sufficient to last his families two years. . . .Emeline was going to have another baby and would have preferred to remain at Silver Creek another year. However, with his added problems due to Cordelia and Jemima having to live elsewhere, he felt that he could remain in Iowa no longer.” (p. 213)

The journey was filled with challenges including cholera for F. Walter Cox and his little son Byron. “One woman was killed in the camp by a stampede of cattle which started when some of the animals were frightened by the shaking of a buffalo robe.” (p. 214)

“On August 6th, they passed Fort Laramie. The next day they stopped beneath the cottonwood trees on the bank of the North Platte and the women engaged in washing. Emeline did not help much for early the next morning, 8 August 1852 in the wagon, she gave birth to Emily Amelia Cox. She said that although the conditions were difficult, the confinement was one of the easiest she had. With the mother and babe adjusted in the bed in the wagon, that afternoon the caravan moved on over the hot dusty prairie. Emeline knew that cooler weather was ahead so when she was well enough, while the wagon rolled along, she knit a pair of stockings and a pair of mittens for the baby. . . .

“They arrived in Salt Lake Valley on September 28th and rested until October 4th before they went on to Manti” where the Coxes and Whitings settled. (pp. 215-216)


In 2003 David and Karen Luthy went on a Pioneer Trek with the North Logan Stake Young Men Young Women. One night they camped on the Sweetwater River below Rocky Ridge. There were echos of the pioneer past all around them, especially when Karen walked along the tree-lined river and thought of Emeline.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Before and After Mt. Pisgah -- Part 5

by Clare B. Christensen

Five Years in Iowa

When spring came to the saints in Iowa and Council Bluffs, “April conference at Winter Quarters was cut short. It had been planned to send as the first company just 144 select men to the Great Basin. Those plans were altered by circumstance. One man was sick. Three women and two children were permitted to go. A second company of whole families was to follow. F. Walter Cox had hoped to go in the second company but Brigham Young assigned Cox the job of inspecting wagons. No wagon was to start on the westward journey without Cox’s okay. (pp. 138-139)

Walter Cox’s willingness to follow the prophet meant that he and his families remained in Iowa until 1852.

“An ordinance was passed in Mills County against polygamy.” One man when confronted with problems from the law, disowned at least two of his wives.

F. Walter Cox began to suffer persecution. In the fall [1851], he was summoned into court. He was told that it was not lawful for him to keep his two younger wives. Polygamy was a religious practice. F. Walter’s grandfather had fought in the Revolutionary War for religious freedom. Being an able speaker, he no doubt told the court so. He said, ‘I will never desert those two girls, so help me!’ Seeing his firmess, they agreed to leave him unmolested if he would move Cordelia and Jemima out of Mills County on or before January 15th. He went in search of a place for them to live. The only place that he was able to find was a deserted cabin in Carterville Pottawattami County.

“In compliance with his agreement, very early on the morning of January 15th, he loaded his wagon with provisions and some household things and hitched his team of oxen to it. Into the wagon were bundled Jemima, Cordelia and their five child, three years old and under. They began the journey toward Carterville, twenty-five miles away. The early morning was cold and they thought that they would freeze but after the sun came up it began to thaw and they were a bit warmer. It took them until nine o’clock that night to reach their destination.

“The building was not more than fourteen feet square. It was shingled with split timber about three feet long. It had one four light window. He hastily fixed it as comfortable as possible spreading straw for beds. That was how they spent the first night. The place had been used as a stable. In the morning, they took up the floor and cleaned under it. Then they washed the boards and put them back. F. Walter made shelves by using split timber for boards. Those he laid on pegs driven into the walls. His brother Amos Cox brought a stove for them. Across the end of the room, F. Walter built bunk beds. He used a pole across the room with a crotched stick. He made more split timber for slats upon which they put their straw mattresses. F. Walter cut some wood for a fuel supply and arranged with a neighbor man to cut more for them. F. Walter returned to Silver Creek to continue his preparations for the westward journey.

“The practice of plural marriage was new to the Latter-day Saints. Few were thoroughly convinced of its truthfulness. Fewer still, had a burning testimony of it. Among those not sure was Cordelia. One night she went to bed gloomy and depressed to the extent that she felt it was for her children only that she cared to live. She cried herself to sleep. She dreamed that there was to be a meeting and she went to it. The congregation was large. President Young spoke. He said that there would be a spirit go around the congregation to whisper comfort in the ear of everyone. Cordelia said, ‘It came to me -- that spirit -- and said to me, ‘don’t ever change your marriage conditions or wish it otherwise, for you are better of (as you are) than thousands of others’.’ It had been promised in her patriarchal blessing that, ‘The Lord by the power of His Spirit shall whisper unto thee comforting words.’ That dream was such a comfort to Cordelia that she never afterward had a doubt that plural marriage was right.

“They soon ran short on the wood that Walter had cut for fuel. Cordelia left the heavily pregnant Jemima with the children and made her way through the snow to the man who had promised to cut more for them. Walter had left them with a ow to keep them in milk. The cow took sick and they thought for a time they would lose her but she recovered.

“February passed. Walter Cox had promised to return but had been delayed. Jemima’s time had arrived. They needed help. Night came upon them. There was no one to go to but God. Cordelia said, ‘When it was bedtime we knelt down in humble prayer.‘ Soon a knock came at the door. They asked who was there. A woman’s voice answered, ‘a friend.‘ They opened the door and a strange woman entered. She was fully prepared with all the necessary things. There in the lonely cabin in the night of February 29th, 1852, Ester Philena Cox was born to Jemima. When the ‘kind woman’ had finihsed taking care of the new born babe and the mother, she departed. When F. Walter Cox arrived about three days later, all was well. He searched and inquired about the neighborhood to find the woman who had befriended them, but no one knew of a woman of that description.

“‘There are some experiences in life almost too sacred to tell’ -- those were the words of the writer’s mother [Maud Driggs Christensen] when she told the story to him. Maud had heard the story first hand from Cordelia.” (pp. 183-185)

Thinning Carrots

Last year I never made time to thin our carrots.

It’s tedious, careful work on hands and knees.

When I see the rows of tiny leafy greens, nestled together

I balk at removing so many healthy ones.

Yet all winter long as I use the crooked, puny carrots that grow in unthinned rows,

I am reminded day by day to take time to thin this year’s carrots.

Summer is here. The morning is cool.

I kneel and thin the carrots--carefully leaving space for each to grow.

I hardly dare to look back where I have been.

Even the ones left standing aren’t really standing.

They lean and droop, unused to holding themselves erect.

But I have learned that in not many days,

When I return to check on them,

If they are in soil that’s rich and damp,

They will again be reaching for the sun.

When our children have left family, leaders, friends--

All the things that have kept them nestled close--

I’ve learned that they too may lean and droop a while.

But each time I trust that if we have loved and taught them well,

It won’t be long before we can tell that

They are standing tall again--

Because they, too, are reaching for The Son.

by Karen Christensen Luthy

Monday, June 27, 2011

Before and After Mt. Pisgah -- Part 4

by Clare B. Christensen

The Birth of Rosalie Ellen Cox and The Exodus

The Exodus from Nauvoo began in February 1846. On 22 February 1846 Emeline gave birth to Rosalie Ellen Cox--our grandmother’s mother. Because of the new baby, the Cox family delayed their departure until late March. They traveled across Iowa until they reached Mt. Pisgah--some miles east of Council Bluffs, Nebraska.

They went to work plowing and planting crops. They were living in two “huts” which Walter Cox built for his family. Even in that circumstance Walter Cox “cut down trees, split the trunks and made benches for a little school in a grove.” (p. 134)

In the summer of 1846, “a dreadful sickness broke out in Pisgah. . . . There were very few who escaped the sickness, and the people were short of bread. Mary wrote:

‘We had pretty gardens which helped us for food and [we] should have done very well if it had not been for the dreadful sickness. When I think of that time, it gives me the heartache -- those two sweet little girls of Emeline’s [Louisa Jane 7 years old]] . . . laid away in that old graveyard. Emeline was lying at the point of death at the time. When she called me to her in the morning and told me how she wanted to fix some of her burying clothes after the little girls death, it seemed as though there was no use in trying to live. Just that same day, someone at Garden Grove sent a dose of quinine, which saved her life. When the dear little Eliza died [Eliza Emeline 3 years old] there was not well ones enough to wait on the sick. Walter made her coffin and carried her to the grave and I think, buried her alone.’

“. . .Jamima Losee Cox was one person who seemed little effected by the sickness. She waited on the others until she was exhausted. . . .Somehow Emeline’s baby Rosalie Ellen survived. [Emeline’s mother] Sally Hulet Whiting died of the disease that August was buried with others in the cemetery of unmarked graves on the hillside.” (pp. 135-136)

* * * * * * * * * *

David and I visited Mt. Pisgah in April 2009. In the little cemetery there we found the monument with the names of our courageous pioneers:

Sally Hulet Whiting -- Emeline's mother

Louisa Jane Cox -- Walter and Emeline's 7-year-old daughter

Eliza Emeline Cox -- Their 3-year-old daughter

Thank heavens, literally, that their baby daughter Rosalie Ellen Cox lived, married Benjamin Woodbury Driggs, and became the mother of Maud Rosalie Driggs, and the grandmother of Paul Driggs Christensen.


Before and After Mt. Pisgah -- Part 4

by Clare B. Christensen

The Birth of Rosalie Ellen Cox and The Exodus

The Exodus from Nauvoo began in February 1846. On 22 February 1846 Emeline gave birth to Rosalie Ellen Cox--our grandmother’s mother. Because of the new baby, the Cox family delayed their departure until late March. They traveled across Iowa until they reached Mt. Pisgah--some miles east of Council Bluffs, Nebraska.

They went to work plowing and planting crops. They were living in two “huts” which Walter Cox built for his family. Even in that circumstance Walter Cox “cut down trees, split the trunks and made benches for a little school in a grove.” (p. 134)

In the summer of 1846, “a dreadful sickness broke out in Pisgah. . . . There were very few who escaped the sickness, and the people were short of bread. Mary wrote:

‘We had pretty gardens which helped us for food and [we] should have done very well if it had not been for the dreadful sickness. When I think of that time, it gives me the heartache -- those two sweet little girls of Emeline’s [Louisa Jane 7 years old]] . . . laid away in that old graveyard. Emeline was lying at the point of death at the time. When she called me to her in the morning and told me how she wanted to fix some of her burying clothes after the little girls death, it seemed as though there was no use in trying to live. Just that same day, someone at Garden Grove sent a dose of quinine, which saved her life. When the dear little Eliza died [Eliza Emeline 3 years old] there was not well ones enough to wait on the sick. Walter made her coffin and carried her to the grave and I think, buried her alone.’

“. . .Jamima Losee Cox was one person who seemed little effected by the sickness. She waited on the others until she was exhausted. . . .Somehow Emeline’s baby Rosalie Ellen survived. [Emeline’s mother] Sally Hulet Whiting died of the disease that August was buried with others in the cemetery of unmarked graves on the hillside.” (pp. 135-136)

In April of 2007 David and I went to Mt. Pisgah and saw the little graveyard where our courageous pioneers are buried. Their names are on a monument there:
Sally Hulet Whiting -- Emeline's mother
Louisa Jane Cox -- their 7-year-old daughter
Eliza Emeline Cox -- their 3-year-old daughter
Thank heavens, literally, that Emeline's baby Rosalie Ellen survived! She is Grandpa Paul Christensen's grandmother.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Before and After

Mt. Pisgah -- Part 3

by Clare B. Christensen

The Poignant Visit of Frederick, Emeline, Cordelia, and Jamima to the Nauvoo Temple

“Cordelia Morley [daughter of Isaac] had been closely associated with F. Walter Cox from the days in Missouri. During that winter in Nauvoo, Emeline W. Cox was told that her husband intended to marry Cordelia. Emeline was not happy at the news. When Cordelia heard that Emeline was troubled, Cordelia went to Emeline and forthrightly asked whether she should marry F. Walter or not. Emeline replied that Cordelia must decide the matter for herself.” (p. 121-122.)

“Tuesday 27 January 1846 was the day at the temple never to be forgotten by the Coxes and Whitings who went. . . .

“Sally Emeline Whiting [Cox] and Cordelia Calista Morley . . . came to the temple and had their endowments that day. Jamima Losee also returned to the temple that afternoon to be married. Emeline knelt at the altar first and was married to Frederick Walter Cox for time and all eternity.

Frederick Walter Cox also married Cordelia Morley and Jamima Losee that day. In later years he would take three other wives--Lydia Margaret Losee, MaryAnn Darrow Richardson, and Emma Peterson.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Before and After Mt. Pisgah - Part 2

by Clare B. Christensen, 1979, Salt Lake City, Utah

The Day that Mobs Came to the Morley Settlement

“On September 10th [1845], an armed mob entered Yolrome [a code name for Morley]. The children were so frightened they never forgot that day. Most of the men were away. One of the neighbors ran to Emeline Cox’s home and said, ‘Here comes a mob of eighteen men.’ Nine years old Fred lay sick with a fever. One of the mobbers came to the door and told Emeline to get what she wanted out of the house in a hurry. She helped her sick boy to a near-by tree where he lay down on a blanket. Sic year old Louisa held her two year old sister, Eliza. William, not quite five years, followed his mother. She began removing their belongings from the little home. She was five months pregnant. The little cupboard was too heavy for her. Some of the houses were beginning to burn. Two men stood ready to burn Emeline’s home. She turned to them and said, ‘Won’t one of you men help me get my cupboard out?’ They both stared at her. One of them shook his head. After hesitating, the other man walked in and dragged the cupboard out of the door. The men carried some straw into the house and threw it on the floor. They took burning sticks from the fireplace and set fire to the straw. They carried burning sticks out and stabbed one each into the hay-stack and a stack of unthrashed grain. . . .

“When the men returned in the evening, F. Walter helped to cook supper on the dying embers of his home. They loaded their belongings in a wagon and spent that night at a house about two miles from Morley Settlement. The next day, they moved on toward Nauvoo in a heavy rain storm.” (pp. 115-116)

When Brigham Young and the Council of Twelve Apostles at Nauvoo learned of the plight of the people in the Morley Settlement, they “issued the following notice to the brethren in and around Nauvoo.:

September 12, 1845

To the Brethren in and about Nauvoo, Greeting:

The Council of the Church requests every man who has a team to go immediately to the Morley Settlement, and act in concert with President Solomon Hancock in removing the sick, the women and children, goods and grain to Nauvoo.


Brigham Young president

[DHC VII page 443]

“Men with 134 teams responded and went to bring the homeless to Nauvoo. . . .

“Mary Cox wrote:

“I think Brother [Stephen] Markham came and took us up to Nauvoo where we found Walter and [his brothers] Orville and Amos all living near each other on what they called Parley Street. . . .there were three and four families living in many of the homes but there were not many complaints.” (pp. 117-118) Thus they spent the winter of 1845-46.

For those who visit Nauvoo, it will be good to remember that when Walter and Emeline had to leave the Morley settlement, they lived on Parley Street during the winter of 1845-46 and that is where our great-grandmother Rosalie Ellen Cox was born.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Our Cox Family Pioneers

Ben the Wagon Boy -- or Benjamin Woodbury Driggs married Rosalie Ellen Cox. Her pioneer legacy is full of faith-promoting stories. Rosalie is our great-grandmother who was born in Nauvoo during the exodus of February 1846. She is also the one who made the red and white quilt that we have in our home.

Uncle Clare B. Christensen, Dad's brother, wrote an important book, Before and After Mt. Pisgah, about the Cox families who were part of the Nauvoo era and who pioneered Utah.

In upcoming posts I'll share several of their special stories. We'll begin with Rosalie's father, Frederick Walter Cox, and her mother Sally Emeline Whiting.

The line is: Dad, his mother Maud Driggs, her father Benjamin W. Driggs, his wife Rosalie Ellen Cox, and her parents, F. Walter Cox and Sally Emeline Whiting.

Excerpts from

Before and After Mt. Pisgah

by Clare B. Christensen, 1979, Salt Lake City, Utah

“Stories from the Lives of Frederick Walter Cox and Sally Emeline Whiting”

It helps to remember that Paul Driggs Christensen was son of Maud Rosalie Driggs,

who was daughter of Rosalie Ellen Cox (and Benjamin Woodbury Driggs),

who was daughter of Frederick Walter and Sally Emeline Whiting Cox.

The Cox family began its stay in America in Marblehead, Massachusetts (near Boston) in the 1600’s. “The town has been famous for its mariners and fishermen. George Washington called for the men in Marblehead and in a soup-thick fog among floating chunks of ice, the boats and skilled men from Marblehead hauled Washington’s army in the famous crossing of the Delaware to surprise the British.” (p. 23)

The Cox family moved from Massachusetts to New York in 1809. On 20 January 1812, Frederick Walter Co was born in Plymouth, Chenango County to Jonathan Upham Cox and his wife Lucinda. Jonathan and Lucinda began their family with eight sons. They added three daughters and finally a ninth son, born six months after Jonathan’s death in 1830. When their second daughter died at the age of two, they buried her on the bank of the Susquehanna River “two years before, and about fifty miles downstream from the place where Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had the great visions while translating the Book of Mormon”. (pp. 37-38)

In 1833, five of the Cox brothers, including Frederick Walter (or Walter as he was called), moved to Ohio. It was there that Walter (who became a lumberman) met Charles Whiting (who was connected with a chair shop) and the two men became close friends. Eventually Walter met Charles’ sister Emeline and they were married 6 September 1835.

“Sally Emeline Whiting. . .had a sweetheart named Sylvester Taylor. Sylvester jilted Emeline. In his second letter to her he said, ‘I have ever kept you in mind and often felt regrets that I was so foolish as to give you up -- indeed I always thought you took it very easy and when you captured Walter Cox that you were fully satisfied, . . .’” (pp. 64-65)

In 1837 Walter and Emeline and their first baby left for Missouri. “Howard Driggs’ account from his grandmother Emeline was that F. Walter had hitched up a wild steer with an old cow to their covered wagon and went hurrying off to Missouri to be there before the Savior arrived. By inference, this confirms the story that Walter and Emeline had already been baptized. Some family records say that they were baptized by Thomas B. Marsh.” (p. 67)

“The writer (Clare B. Christensen) assumes that it was while Isaac Morley was on his mission in Ohio, that he met F. Walter Cox. If Isaac Morley was one of the missionaries who first contacted F. Walter Cox, then some unexplained things . . .would fall into place. . . .” (p. 87)

The Cox family were living at Far West, Missouri in 1839. “It was there in Missouri that the mob drove our families out. Isaac Morley’s home was burned, so was the chair shop of Elisha Whiting, Jr. . . .” (p. 95)

“Among the records collected by Howard R. Driggs, was a small manuscript entitled, ‘Incidents in Cox History.’ It began, ‘Driven from Caldwell County, Missouri to Hancock County, Illinois in 1839, the three families, sixteen in number, Cox, Whiting and Morley, pitched their tents in the backwoods where they lived until log cabins could be built.’ Much was told in those few words.” (p. 97)

The “backwoods” where they lived was 25 miles south down the Mississippi River from the Nauvoo. The three families became the Morley Settlement and soon there were three or four hundred people there. . . .Some church authorities came and appointed Isaac Morley as president of the branch. He chose F. W. Cox and Edwin Whiting as his counselors.” (p. 99)

Before & After Mt. Pisgah is filled with details of the next six years.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Melancholy Surprise

Through the years Ben the Wagon Boy aka Benjamin Woodbury Driggs has held a special place in my heart. What I knew about him was his happy childhood in Nauvoo, his sweet sacrifice of his wagon, and that he was Dad's quite famous Grandfather Driggs. Even the stories about Indians were safe enough that children could watch from nearby!

When we were at Martin's Cove on a YMYW trek we found his name among those who went to the rescue of those saints.

With all of this there has been a sunny mist over my thoughts of him and our Great-grandmother Rosalie Ellen Cox Driggs living in Pleasant Grove -- with an emphasis on "pleasant". I knew that he had spent some time in jail because of polygamy. Even then, Dad always put a happy slant on that era. But I was unaware of how difficult much of his life actually was.

In gathering and typing up family histories, I came upon the following life history he wrote of himself. Perhaps as you read it, you will feel as I have -- a deep gratitude for his faithfulness in the face of hardships and a greater determination to go forward into the future of our day with steadfast courage and cheerfulness.


The Life of Benjamin Woodbury Driggs

written by Himself

February 18, 1901

Born in Ohio, May 13, 1837. Moved to Nauvoo, Illinois in 1842. Lived there during the building of the Nauvoo Temple - and also through the mobbing and martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

My father and mother were baptized by M. H. Peck in the Mississippi River. We left Nauvoo in the summer of 1846. My grandfather Henry White died in Nauvoo. My grandfather [Urial] Driggs, died in Iowa - 1846, buried in a little opening in the timber. My father made his coffin. We continued our journey that summer and arrived at Council Bluffs in October same Fall. Settled in "Thomas Camp", afterwards called Driggsville and Big Pigeon. My father made a farm and worked it. His trade was wagon building. I helped both in the shop and on the farm. We broke up new prairie and timber, and raised cattle.

We left Iowa June 30th. Crossed the Mississippi River and started for Utah, July 4th. Crossed the plains with ox teams and arrived in Salt Lake City, October 2, 1852 after a trying journey.

We went to Uncle S. Driggs’ in Kaysville where my sister, Eliza was born two weeks after our arrival. We moved to Battle Creek, Utah County. Made us a home, a log house, at the corner of _______field - now Lindon. In 1855, Indians broke out bad. We all moved into the fort, July 24, 1855. We were harassed by the Indians, had to guard our animals and stand picket guard during the summer months. In the winter the snows kept them out.

I attended school in the winter. Worked on the farm, and in the canyons.

In 1855 I went to San Bernardino, California with J. H. Rawlins and my Uncle Starling G. Driggs. I lived with J. H. Rawlins - stayed one year and a half. I returned in the Fall of 1856, rode horse back came with the U. S. Mail. I found my parents and all well.

December 3rd went with others to assist delayed immigrants. We went as far as Ft. Bridger -- very hard trip, snow deep. Then I attended school.

February 16th, 1857 I married Olivia Pratt, Elder Orson Hyde officiating. I worked about town during the next summer. I made adobes and built me a home which is now standing, [February 1901], in fair condition.

In September of 1857, I volunteered to defend my country and people against the encroachment of Uncle Sam. Went out with a company of Cavalry, L. W. Willis, Captain. I stayed all that Fall and helped to build fortifications in Echo Canyon. Cashed iron burned from wagons on Green River and Big 'Sandy - did not return until December. Very trying trip. Suffered from cold and hunger with little clothing, during the next winter.

My first son, B. W. Driggs Jr., was born January 3lst, 1858. My family was very low. We did the best we could but that was very meager. My home was left uncovered during winter. I worked at odd jobs moving hay, canyon work, etc. In March 1860 my eldest daughter, Ella Olivia was born in our house partly finished. Times were hard. We scraped together a few articles for house keeping, paying as high as $3.50 per set for tea cups and saucers and plates. Father made us a table and bedstead. Mother divided beds and bedding with us. I worked early and late on the farm for others. I hauled hay to Camp Floyd and Mercur. I worked at a Sourgum molasses mill in the season for such work.

On October 12th, 1862, Luna Belle, my second daughter was born. That Fall I worked on a molasses mill with Bishop H. Walker. In that winter with C. B. Hawley, went to Reese river to deliver oats to the Overland Mail Co.... came back the last of December - very hard trip suffered from cold. Found many sick of typhoid fever. James Hawley died the next day after our arrival.

In the summer of 1864, in company with John Long and J. L. Foutz, I went to Sweetwater blacksmithing and trading with the emigrants, returned in August.

November 20th, Don C. was born. I worked at blacksmithing with John Long. Went out east in 1865 and 1866, with a blacksmith outfit - was on Sweetwater, Greenriver and Hansfork. Done some work at track laying for Mr. Granger where the Y station now stands.

In 1867 went to Sanpete on General W. B. Pace's Staff. Done service that summer and became acquainted with Miss Rosalie Ellen Cox of Manti, whom I married in Salt Lake Endowment House October 5th, Wilford Woodruff officiating. She taught school and tended the telegraph office the next two years. I worked at blacksmithing.

I was called to go to the Muddy but was recalled by President Young. I got ready, sold part of my property and made every preparation to take my wife Rosalie, then came the recall. I worked at my trade.

In 1868 I took a contract on the Union Pacific Railroad in Echo Canyon. Carried on store keeping then sold out to Pirson Cook as it was the counsel to do so. ~~ The End

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Those Were the Days!

When Uncle Owen came with Aunt Marrian and his family to celebrate his birthday in 1958, he was 38 years old.

It was a great occasion with three of his four siblings and their families--Maureen and Clarence, Kathryn and Percy, and Paul and Beth--in Logan.

Does anyone know who is behind Aunt Maureen and who is on Paul Barker's left?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Shadrach Ford's Gift for his son Ben

Ben the Wagon Boy

Parts of Chapter 1 and all of Chapter 2 from Ben the Wagon Boy

All quoted material is in italics.

by Howard R. Driggs copyright 1944

Little Ben had a healthy, happy childhood in his Ohio home. Of course he could remember almost nothing about it; for when he was about five years old he was taken by his parents to another home by the Mississippi River. Nor did he learn, until he was older, why they had given up their home where he was born in 1837, and made the long journey to a new one.

It had all come about, as his parents [Shadrach Ford Driggs and Eliza Elizabeth White] told their questioning son, because some Mormon missionaries had come into the Ohio village, and converted a number of the people there to the gospel. Ben’s father and mother, his four grandparents, with some of his uncles and aunts and their neighbors, had been baptized into the new church. Others had made fun of them, and had caused trouble for them because they had accepted what they believed was the truth; so they decided to gather with other folks of their faith in the city of Nauvoo, in western Illinois.

Little Ben did recall how his mother cried when she left some of the friends who had come with her from Vermont. He remembered, too, the big covered wagon his father, with the good help of Mr. Woodbury, had made. He was all excitement when they hitched “Mack,” their black horse, and his brown mate to one of these “homes on wheels,” then drove away with their relatives and friends along the road that led towards the west. Nor did he ever forget Bones, their dog, who barked for joy because he was being taken along with his little master. . . . (pp. 2-3)

Three weeks . . .passed--days of travel, nights of camping out under the stars--and then the journey ended. As they neared the “Father of Waters,” the prairies of Illinois broke into rolling, wooded hills. Among these the little caravan wended its way until finally . . .they glimpsed the Mississippi [River] and then Nauvoo, the Beautiful . . .

How his parents and grandparents solved the vexing problem of getting settled, he hardly knew; but they were not long in finding or building homes in Upper Nauvoo.

His father bought a roomy house on a large lot--just the place for a lively boy to romp about. Across the road was a large wagon-shop, of which this skilled workman was soon made foreman. Not many months had passed before another baby boy came to give added cheer to this new home. Ben was, of course, delighted with Paul, as his little brother was named. . . .(pp. 4-5)

One of the places that claimed Benjamin Woodbury Driggs’ interest

. . .was the big wagon shop across the road from his home. It was such a busy spot, with the song of saws, planes, hammers and other tools making music all day long.

“Don’t get too close to these workmen,” his father would keep warning the interested boy; “and leave the sharp tools alone.”

“But I want to make me a wagon, Daddy. Why can’t I do it?”

This pleading usually resulted in Ben’s getting some boards, with a few tools, and a place out of the way where he could hammer to his heart’s content.

Then came a joyous day. His father promised to make him a little wagon--exactly like the big ones--for his birthday. It would have to be done after regular work hours, perhaps in the evening, when all was quiet at the shop. And Ben must promise not to bother the workers or tease his father while it was being made.

He was quick to promise. Away he went in high glee to tell his mother.

“Just think, a really true wagon like the big ones--all my own,” he exclaimed. “I can take baby brother for rides, Mother, and I can bring things for you from the store. Won’t that be fine?”

The mother agreed it would. In her heart she was about as happy as her little son.

It was nearly a month before the Maytime birthday would come. Ben could hardly wait. When his father really did begin to create the wagon, it helped. Day after day, as he could find time, the master workman put his skill into the creation. As it began to develop, he grew in interest in what he was making to gladden the heart of his boy. A day before the birthday the little wagon was finished--with a coat of paint to make it a thing of beauty.

On the morning Ben was seven years old, he woke to find his dream come true. There in the living room was his wagon. Tears were in the mother’s and the father’s eyes as the happy son gave them both a loving squeeze. Then out he went to run up and down the street and show his little friends the rare gift.

True to his promise, Ben did take his baby brother for many a ride. He also ran errands for his mother, most willingly, whenever she asked him to go. Ben and his dog, Bones, became a familiar sight around the streets of Nauvoo.

The boy, with his father’s help, soon rigged up a little harness, and trained the clever little animal to pull the wagon and the young master, but only around the streets near home. Knowing that Bones was fond of chasing cats, the father was afraid there might be a mad chase after one some day, with a broken wagon and an injured boy as the result.

One of the favorite errands Ben liked to do for his mother was to go down Mullholland Street through the business part of town, and on past the lot where the great temple was being built, to Parley P. Pratt’s store. Shops along the way were full of interest. It was a stirring sight also to see the workmen shaping and placing the stones to make the stately building rise. Besides, at the Pratt store, there were some good things to buy. Ben always remembered the sweet molasses shipped up the Mississippi from New Orleans. It wasn’t quite so good as maple syrup, but it did make buckwheat cakes taste almost as good. Frequently he would bring a jug of this molasses home to mother.

Her caution to him was, “Now, don’t let the grass grow under your feet; and don’t try to hitch Bones on your wagon. He would likely run away and spill the molasses over everything.”

The thought of losing the sweets was enough to bring obedience about the dog. Ben did not always heed the advice to hurry home, however, and one day this brought real sorrow into his young life.

He paused near the temple lot to watch a workman carving a stone. The chip, chip,chip of the chisel, driven deftly into the hard substance, was so interesting a process that Ben forgot how time was passing. Nor did he notice that two of the other workmen had also paused to look intently at his little wagon.

What brought the boy back to himself was hearing one of these man say, “That wagon would be a mighty handy thing to haul our tools about the yard.”

Then to the startled lad he said, “Sonny, how would you like to let us have your wagon to help build the temple?”

“Oh, no,no, I couldn’t do that,” replied Ben.

“Isn’t your father the boss of the big wagon shop?” the man questioned.


“Well, we’ll talk to him about it.”

Frightened at the thought of losing his precious wagon,Ben sped for home with Bones at his heels. There, bursting into tears, he exclaimed, “Mother, you won’t let them take it away, will you?”

“What are you talking about, boy?” his mother asked.

“Some men at the temple asked me for my wagon to haul their tools; and when I said I couldn’t give it to them, they said, ‘we’ll see your father.’

“Perhaps they were just joking, Ben. Come, you’re late for dinner. Now eat something and you’ll feel better.”

But the boy could hardly eat anything. Finally his father came in and before his son could tell what happened, the two men appeared at the door.

In the kitchen with his mother, Ben heard one of them say, “It would be a great help, brother, to keep some of our best tools together and to take them from place to place.”

“Well, let me talk it over with the boy,” replied the father. “He is mighty proud of the little thing; but perhaps he will give his consent, if he sees things as we do.”

That night Ben and his father and mother had a good heart-to-heart talk.

“You see, son, everybody is giving something to help build the temple,” said his father. “I know just how you feel about it and I am not going to force you to part with your wagon. My heart is in it, and your mother’s, too. But just think about it. Ask your Heavenly Father tonight when you say your prayers to help you decide what to do. It is the house of the Lord that is being built. Perhaps even a little boy like you can help.”

Ben’s mother had only this to say, “I know you will do what is right.”

As she took him to his bed, she kissed his tear-stained face, patted his rumpled head,and walked away to let him say his prayer alone.

Next morning a little boy, drawing his wagon and followed by his faithful dog, made his way down Mullholland Street and over to the temple lot. Walking up to the man who seemed to be foreman, he said simply, “I’ve brought you my wagon to help the men build the temple.”

Looking into Ben’s frank face, the kindly man replied with feeling, “God bless you, boy. I know what this means to you. No one has made a greater sacrifice to help build the Nauvoo Temple. Your gift will help. God bless you.” He gripped the boy’s shoulder gently.

Ben bravely held back his tears, as he walked home with Bones by his side. (pp. 9-14)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Shadrach Ford Driggs and John Taylor

Parts of Chapter 3 from Ben the Wagon Boy

by Howard R. Driggs copyright 1944

All quoted material is in italics.

Nauvoo might have remained a pleasant place in which to live had there not been some folk around the city and within it to cause trouble. These people, filled with some evil spirit, would not let the followers of Joseph Smith live on in the city they had built. Just why, no one seems even to this day to know.

“This is a free country,” said Grandfather [Henry] White. “My own father and uncles were in the army that Ethan Allen raised to help win our liberty. Why can’t the officers of the law protect us in our right to worship as we like?”

“Well, the sheriff is doing all he can, so they tell me,” spoke up Grandmother; “don’t you get yourself too excited, Henry. It will all come out right somehow.”

But mobs began to defy the laws and things grew worse.

Finally the leaders saw that to live in peace, the Latter-day Saints must find a new homeland farther West.

There was harder work ahead. Every home became a center of industry, with quilting, knitting and weaving and making of clothes. Every shop was as busy as could be, with most of the effort being turned to the making of covered wagons, ox yokes, chains, harnesses, saddles, and other equipment.

Something else must be had for this journey in the covered wagon. That was oxen. These patient, slow-moving animals were safer than horses or mules. They would draw heavy loads, and not be so hard to keep well fed on the grasses to be found along the way. As it became more certain that the saints must find new homes, they began to trade for oxen, or purchase them.

Ben’s father had only the two fine horses that had brought them from Ohio to Nauvoo. These, like the dog, Bones, were almost part of the family. But it was decided with a good deal of heartache that they must be sold to get money enough to buy several yoke of oxen. In looking around for a buyer, Ben’s father found one. Apostle John Taylor, who needed a horse, bought old Mack. There were tears in the eyes of Ben and his mother as this faithful animal was led away. . . .

Some weeks passed.

One day Apostle Taylor came driving old Mack, hitched to his buggy, up to the wagon shop. Calling Ben’s father out,he said quietly, “Brother Shad, I just drove over to say that you didn’t tell me all you know about this horse.”

“Well, Brother Taylor,” replied the father, “I always found him to be a good horse.”

“That’s what he is. He is a better horse than you said he was. Here’s ten dollars more for him. I feel that I owe it to you.” With that the fine leader drove away, leaving an abiding affection for him in the hearts of all the family.

It is small wonder that when the time came, as it did the next spring, that this pioneer wagon-maker and all his dear ones were ready to follow such honest and faithful leadership into the wilds of the unsettled West. (pp. 19-22)