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)


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