Weight, Fredrick (son of James Weight, born Feb. 28, 1788 Bowbridge, Stroud, England, and Ann Foukes, born June 24, 1791 Boxam, Wiltshire, England). He was born June 18, 1828 Stroud, near Bristol, Eng. Came to Utah September 15, 18 Captain Howell Company.
High Priest; member of the Salt Lake Tabernacle Choir; chorister at Springville 25 years and organist for many years. Played in first brass band at Salt Lake City. Drum major in Nauvoo Legion (in Utah). One of the first members of Salt Lake Theatrical company. Home guard in Black Hawk Indian war. Died Dec 15, 1901
A Short History of the Life Of Fredrick Weight By Himself
Scanned From Legal Sized Printed Copy (Editor Unknown) and Re Edited for Laser Printing and HTML By Shirl R. Weight April 6, 1997
I, Fredrick Weight, am the son of poor but honest parents, having been born in Glostershire, England, in Stroud, on the 18th day of June, 1828. My register is to be found in the Old Church of that town. My father was James and my mother, Ann Foukes Weight. My father was a blacksmith by trade and was blessed with six children, I being the third son of the family. My family moved to the town of Cirencister in Glostershire when I was about four or five years of age.
One time my two elder brothers and I were crossing a field when a bull came running after us at full speed. I, being the youngest, could not run as fast as the others and the bull was gaining on me. There was a gate about four feet high in front of me and the bull about eighteen feet behind me. My brothers were yelling to me to run and get "over the fence" as fast as I could. I jumped over the gate and fell on my head on the other side and was saved. I never crossed that field again.
My father, with his family, moved to Cheltenham where I was sent to infant school. I was then about five years of age and remained at this school until I was eight. I was the leading singer in this school and was set to teach small classes, as I was a favorite with the School Master. This was the only schooling I ever had. Here I learned to read and to sing. The scriptures were read to us and I got a good understanding of the Bible and its contents, which has been very useful to me throughout my life.
At the age of ten I started to work as a mason tender, making mortar, carrying bricks and the like. I was paid three shillings per week, which I gave to my mother and thought I was doing great things.
After this I worked with a plasterer and learned that trade. The man for whom I worked, was a drunkard and could not work well unless he had liquor in him. His name was William Crocker, who was a good workman but must always drink. One time he had me make up a ton of lime into mortar for the small sum of sixpence, which is about twelve cents, decidedly taking advantage of me.
I then went to work as an errand boy for a Doctor, and stayed with him for about three years. I learned many useful things about drugs and medicines, making pills of all kinds. I was also called upon to hold the head when he extracted teeth, and many other things. I lived with this old doctor, whose name was Dr. Austin, until his death. He was buried in St. Phillips Churchyard in the parish of St. Phillips and Jacobs, in the city of Bristol, Old England. His housekeeper, Mrs. Taylor, took his death so hard that she took poison and died; however, I left before this took place.
I then went to work at a Gentleman's house and did general work, for which I received one shilling per day plus my supper. I remained here for about one year, then went to work in a tobacco factory. I received nine shillings per week, but the work was very hard, so hard that I could not stand it. I became poor and thin and got sick, which was the reason I left.
Soon after this I went to work at the Iron works with my father and worked with him for seven years in the same shop. Here I became acquainted with making all sorts of machinery, steam engines and ice. I worked a very large planeing machine, and could plane large Bed Plates, some weighing as much as eighteen to twenty ton. I could also plane anything as small as one pound in weight. I received thirteen shillings per week and my wages increased to thirty before I left.
About this time I became acquainted with a young lady by the name of Charlotte Burgum, whose company I kept for about five years, and whom I later married. I had many happy days during my courtship, and strange to say, I saw my "intended" as much as six times a day, as I passed up and down to my work, her home being on the way, and I looked through the window as I passed.
I will now say a word regarding music. About this time my brothers and I attended concerts and participated and practiced music together. We purchased instruments in order that we might play together as a four part ensemble, I taking the bass, my brother Martin, the treble, Alfred the alto, and James, the tenor. We played and sang at concerts, music meetings, and public concerts. My sisters, Athaliah and Amelia, also sang with us. also a young man by the name of William Lodge, a tenor singer.
I would work ten hours every day and practice from one to three hours. I arose at 4:00 A. M. and practiced for two hours, then went to my work at 6:00, practiced thirty minutes at noon, leaving just thirty minutes in which to eat my dinner. Then I went back to work until 5:30, and after returning home, I ate my supper, fixed to go to my music meetings, to which I walked four miles - four miles there, and four miles back, twice weekly, making a distance of sixteen miles every week of walking after having worked ten hours each day at the factory. I kept this up for three or four years, carrying my violin-cello under my arm all the way there and back.
I was very religious as far back as I can remember, being a member of a religious sect called the Independents, which I joined at the age of 15, along with my "intended", where we both partook of the sacrament.
When I was very small I attended Sunday School and meetings with my mother, under her cloak, and grew up in the religion of the day.
I once ran three miles after working hard all day, to attend a prayer meeting on time. I attended eight meetings every Sunday. Some may ask how I did it, so I shall tell you. I attended two prayer meetings before breakfast, attended Sunday School at 9:00 A. M., Divine service at 10:00, Sunday School again at 2:00 P. M., Prayer Meeting at 5:30, Divine Service at 6:00, then wound up with a warm-hearted Prayer Meeting at 8:00 P. M., then home and my secret prayers before going to bed. I became quite a favorite with the Pastor of our Church.
He was one of those preachers that sent men to Hell as soon as they died, if they did not believe as he did. He said if they did not believe in Christ, as soon as they were dead they would be in Hells torments forever and ever. He also said there were children in Hell not a span long, and that there was a clock there which said, "Ever-Never, Ever-Never, Ever-Damnation, Never Salvation. Before the nurse closes your eyes, before it is said 'Ashes to Ashes - Dust to Dust' you will be lifting your eyes in Hells Flames", and all such kind of talk. and a great deal more that I do not wish to repeat.
This was the kind of preaching that I sat under for about ten years while I belonged to this Church. I was one of the leading singers in the choir, taking the lead of the singing on week nights, at meetings. I was called upon to pray in prayer meetings, which I did, there-by thinking by this participation that I was all set to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I was very much in earnest, thinking there was no religion better than this one to which I belonged.
The preacher, by the name of James Taylor preached in his chapel on Anvil Street, in the Parish of St. Phillips and Jacobs, in the City of Bristol, England. My father and mother also attended this church.
At this time I was working in a very large cotton factory, beaming warps for the weavers. Here I worked sixteen hours each day. After working three weeks I had to leave, as the work was too hard and I could not stand it. For this hard work I received not one penny, as after quitting I never returned to collect my wages. While working here, I became acquainted with a young girl by the name of Ann Webb, who was the first girl I had ever courted, and felt myself to be deeply in love with her. I was about sixteen at the time and courted her for about six months; however, she left England to go to America, and of course we parted, at which time I felt the urge to kiss her good-by, but did not have the courage.
When I was about sixteen or eighteen years of age, my father was out of work a great deal and it so happened that I had work most all the-time. Poor people know very well just what it means to be out of work - it means to be out of everything, house and food, I was earning thirteen shillings per week (about $3.12) and this enabled us to just keep the "wolf" from the door. I gave my mother all of my wages each week, with which she could just pay the rent, buy us bread, a little bacon, and a pack of potatoes each day. This was all we had to live on for a family of eight. My wages just kept us from running into debt and from starving. We lived this way for many months. I once asked my mother to give me sixpence which is equal to twelve cents, as I wanted a little pocket money, but was told that I could not have one penny. I thought this very hard at the time, but have learned since why she could not do so. This has been one of the happiest memories of my life, to know that I could help out through this difficult time, though it was hard for me, a young boy, to give all my wages to my mother, I am glad that I did.
When about twenty I was out of work and felt very bad and restless, and could not bring my mind to settle down. I was desirous of getting married but could not see my way clear. I was not happy in the religion I professed, and felt miserable and depressed, which made me very unsettled. About this time my brother James went to hear the Latter-Day-Saints preach, and was soon baptized into their Church. This made my mother feel very bad at this time, saying that "Jim" had been baptized into the Mormon Church, that he was lost, but it was not long until my oldest sister went to hear them and she also was baptized, then her husband, etc., until all the family had joined but me. I still stuck to the old religion to which I belonged. I just could not see it at that time, and said if Mr. Taylor was not right, no one was, and I would not go to hear them. Time passed with my folks preaching to me for a whole year, but still I refused to go and hear the Mormons.
A Conference of the Mormon Church was to be held in Newport, Monmouthshire, in Wales, about thirty miles from Bristol across the Channel. My brothers and I were invited to attend and furnish the music, as we had four parts, both to play our instruments and to sing. I decided it would be an outing for me, so I consented to go along. Our passage being paid, I decided to take my "intended" wife with me.
We started in the morning with the tide and arrived safely in the afternoon. Mr. William Lodge went with us to sing tenor. We were all very kindly received and were treated very well. This made a great impression on me, as they seemed to be more united than any other religion, including the sect to which I belonged.
The following day was Sunday and the commencement of the Conference. We played and sang the first and second hymns, after which the preaching began. Franklin D. Richards, one of the twelve Apostles, and Cyrus Wheelock, were on the stand; along with many of the Elders. The preaching was very different to anything I had ever heard before. They talked about oxen, wagons, crossing the plains, getting outfits for same, and many other things of a temporal nature which I thought was not becoming on a Sunday. When the meeting closed they were all delighted with our music. We met again in the afternoon and evening and had very good meetings.
After the evening meeting a young girl became very ill and wished to be administered to. I then saw one of the Elders of the Church take a bottle of oil that had been consecrated for the healing of the sick, pour some of it on her head and gently smooth it on with his hand, and at the same time, pray for her restoration to health. After this I saw two or three Elders lay their hands upon her head and pray for her, at which time she became better. This was the first time I had ever seen the administration of the laying on of hands for the sick.
Upon retiring that night, I thought about all the things I had seen and heard that day. My "intended" was baptized the next day, which made me a little unhappy because she said nothing to me about it until afterward; however, she felt strongly that she had done the right thing and wished that I would do the same.
I decided I would go home first and ask my old minister regarding it and find out his opinion; but I failed to get in touch with him and could not get this new religion off my mind. Two or three days later, on April 6th, 1849, I was baptized by Elder George Halladay and confirmed a member of the Church by the same man.
Now what did the old minister say? What did he not say. He said the Mormons were the scum of Hell and I was lost and would go to Hell. I was everything that was bad because I had joined that awful sect called Mormons or Latter Day Saints, but he called us Latter Day Devils and every other thing he could mention.
Some of the Elders told me I must go and preach to him and warn him of his danger, by preaching the Gospel to him. I went to his house one morning and began talking to him, but as soon as I started talking he got up, opened the door, and showed me the way out. I said, "Sir, you must hear it," but he said, "I will not hear it," and shut the door in my face, and I have never seen him since. That was my first experience with preaching Mormonism - I was kicked out.
I then went to their choir meeting to talk to the members and tell them about the Gospel, but they all left me and would not hear a word I had to say. They all left, and there I stood all alone, having to extinguish the gas, after which I went home alone. I was looked upon as one of the off-scourings of the earth. I left them and have never seen any of them since.
I now attended the Latter-Day Saints meetings, being appointed to take charge of the singing, which I did as long as I remained in England.
Coming to America
About this time I began to think strongly about marrying. I purchased furniture and had one room already to move into, with which to begin housekeeping, but it was thought best that I leave England and go to America. I wished to go, as I no longer wished to remain in England after joining the Saints. I had made up my mind to go alone and send for my wife later, as I did not have enough money to take both of us, although I did have money for one. But I loaned my money to a poor woman to pay her rent, as her landlord had put the bailiffs into her house and would have sold off her goods the next day if the money was not forthcoming. I loaned her my money and saved her goods. As her husband was away working, a distance of eighty miles, I did not know when I would get it back, but it came to me about two days before I started.
The President of the Branch and my folks thought it best for me to marry prior to my departure and take my wife along with me. They got enough money for her to go, which I was to pay back to the President's brother upon my arrival in St. Louis in America, which I later did.
Marriage - Charlotte Burgum
About one week before starting, I was married to Charlotte Burgum. I sold what furniture I could and gave the rest away. I also had made a small organ at odd times, which I sold. This helped me with a little more money with which to start.
Charlotte and I were married on Sunday the 18th of August, 1849, in a public meeting by the Branch President. I was 21 years of age, my wife being four months younger. We were married in the Broad Street Chapel in the Parish of St. Phillips and Jacobs, Bristol, Old England.
At the time I was married, my father got up and blessed us and gave us his blessing, which I appreciated very much.
The night we left I shall never forget. My father was just going up to bed as he had to go to work very early. He wished me good-by, as he would not see me in the morning, which was the last time I ever saw him.
(Let me pause to say here, when I was four years of age I was afflicted with that dreadful disease, smallpox, and as bad as I could be and live. My mother took care of me all through this time, giving me sheeps turtle tea to drink, which cured me, driving the pox out, and I recovered. I shall never forget that dreadful time. I mention this here, as it might be of some value to someone at some future time.)
The "Pig Boat" to Liverpool
Now we were preparing for our journey and were very busy. We were to sail in a dory steam packet which was used to import pigs known as the "Town of Waxford". There being no accommodations for passengers, some of us had to go into the hold where the pigs were kept, and there, eat, drink, and sleep - if we could.
We Latter Day Saints numbered about eight adults and several children. My wife and I sat up on the deck until night came on and then we did not know where to go. The sea was getting worse and worse - the water dashing over the sides of the steamer and rolling from side to side so that we could not stand on deck. My wife, clinging to me every moment, we now began to really feel what sea-sickness was. As our vessel heaved, we heaved, so I asked one of the sailors if he would let me have his birth for my poor wife that night, to which he consented for a half-crown. I paid him and put her to bed, but Oh! what a place.
It was in the forecastle of the steamer and the bed reeked with filth, oil, grease, and such a horrible stench! This was the place where I had to put my new bride, after having paid such an outrageous price. I was with her all night holding the slop basin for her, as she was vomiting constantly and so weak she could not help herself. The vessel was pitching and the water rolling over us all night long. The size of this bed was, as near as I could judge in the darkness, (for we had not a light of any kind, only that of the moon shining in through the doorway) about six feet long, one foot six inches wide, and a half yard high. All around us were the other berths for the sailors, and they were coming in and out all night long, which was very unpleasant for us.
As I had occasion to empty the slop basin every little while, I looked over the side of the vessel by the light of the moon, and saw the turbulent sea with it's green water rolling and tumbling over the side - a sight I shall never forget. Thus passed the first night on that old pig boat.
The next morning the weather was no better and it continued bad all that day. I went to the mate and asked him if he thought we would ever reach Liverpool, and he replied very seriously, "I hope so, I hope so!" I know that the Lord preserved us and was with us or we should all have been lost.
John Dallin and his three brothers, Thomas, William, and Robert were also on this boat - all good members of the Church at that time, starting out for the Valleys and John can tell you of the dreadful time we had on this old pig boat.
It was now the third day out and by this time the weather was a little better. We were at the Mombles on the Welsh coast and arrived at Holyhead on the fourth day. This was considered to be a very dangerous place but we came through safely. My wife was very sick all the way across.
As we were unable to do any cooking, it was fortunate that we had taken some cold food along with us, as that was the only thing we had to eat.
We arrived in Liverpool safely after a passage of five days and five nights, and being total strangers in Liverpool and not knowing a soul, I hired a bed for the night, paying one shilling and sixpence. This I could not afford for long, so I went to see if I could get on the ship and stay until she set sail for America, as we expected to sail right away, but she did not sail until three days later; however. We were permitted to board ship, where we stayed until she did sail.
While in Liverpool we had to be on the lookout for sharpers and guard our luggage until we had it safely secured.
About seven hundred souls sailed on the sailing vessel, the North American, with Captain Cook as commander. I shall now endeavor to give an account of the voyage.
We left Liverpool on the 3rd of September, 1849, and sailed out of the River Mercy into the Irish Channel with a fair wind.
My wife was feeling much better and busied herself arranging our personal belongings in our berth, trying to make things as comfortable as she could. We had fine weather in the Channel the first day.
While the men were fixing the spars up in the rigging a heavy spar, about twenty feet long and six inches through, fell endways, striking the deck with much force that the end went right on thru, making a four inch hole right through to the berths below. Fortunately no one was hurt, even though there were hundreds of people on the deck. This was an act of Providence.
We had fine weather for about four or five days and were able to hold meetings on deck and administer the sacrament. The second day we had a wedding on deck - a young man by the name of Walter Savage, the girl I do not remember, both from Sheffield.
Our berths were mid-ship, right under the hatchway. John Dallin and brothers were next to us, also the newlyweds. We were all together, sharing the cook-house, which was on deck, by being organized into companies and taking our turn to cook. This proved to be a very unsatisfactory arrangement as there were so many to cook for, all wanting it done at the same time; however, we did the best we could in good weather. In bad weather we were unable to do any cooking at all.
After about a week, bad weather really came on. The ship began to rock and roll and the waves began to swell, making us all seasick again This is a dreadful feeling - only those who have had this dreadful feeling could possibly know how terrible it is. I was sick seven days and my wife was ill most all the time keeping to her bed all during that time.
The ship rolled from side to side, loosening our boxes and causing them to roll also. We could not stand on our feet. The berths began to give way and some of them came down - occupants and all. The pots and kettles rolled about the deck, people were vomiting, children crying, some praying, some singing, and same of the most fearful, moaning, "We shall all go to the bottom". We were locked down under the deck without any light and remained in this condition for two days and nights with very little to eat or drink. The vessel rolled so much that we could get no rest day or night.
On the third day it began to abate, so they unlocked the hatchways and allowed us to have a little daylight, for which we were all very thankful. We began to clean up our beds and berths and many other things that did not smell so sweet. We went on deck for a good wash and some fresh air. I shall never forget that time - seven hundred people all crowded together in a ship between decks and locked down with no light. This ship rolled and tossed about like a cork in a wash tub and we were unable to get out as there was no back door from which to escape. If the vessel had gone down we should all have been smothered to death before we ever reached the bottom. But I had no fears for we were obeying the word of the Lord in getting out of Babylon, according to the word of the Lord.
We ran into headwinds after this, which drove us back and off our course several hundred miles. We tacked ship several times. We held meetings on deck when the weather would permit, as most of us had overcome our seasickness by now and were beginning to feel better.
We had two marriages, two births, and two deaths. One old lady about seventy years of age, died and was thrown into the sea with a piece of iron anchored to her feet. A child died also, and was buried in the same manner.
We now began to get into the trade winds, making sailing very smooth at about ten knots per hour. The sea was very rough but it did not hamper our sailing; however, when we reached the West Indies we were becalmed. The weather was very hot, melting the pitch on deck, and it poured over our beds. We remained in this condition for almost two weeks, the sea being as smooth as glass with the ship standing still on the water. Everything was as still as a little boat on a still pond.
Some of the men wanted to take a swim in the sea and asked permission of the Captain, who told them they may do so. They asked about sharks infesting the waters at this latitude but were informed that there were none, after which they let themselves down by a rope and swam about and around the ship. Soon a large shark was seen coming toward them, and just as the last man was pulled up out of the water, the shark made a pass at him - one half minute more and the shark would have had him.
Everyone ran to the side to see the monster which caused the ship to tip badly to that side.
The Captain told them to leave the shark alone as the crew was going to bate and catch him, which they did, finding that he was fifteen feet long and as large around as a man's body, and he had four little pilot fish with him.
There was no more swimming in the sea.
The days were hot and the nights very warm, and lightening very vivid and strong in the west. I sat upon the deck till late at night watching this lightening, which was one continuous flame, and I have never seen anything so vivid or so fierce The moon appeared to shine more brightly here than I have ever seen it on land and the sun was very grand, seeming to rise and set right out of the water as a great ball of fire. Of course we could see nothing but water, sky, sun, moon, and stars.
We were now very tired of the calm and impatient to be on our way, so the Elders assembled below deck and held a council as to what was best to do, as we did not know how long we might be becalmed. We concluded to ask God in mighty prayer for a wind in order that we might continue our journey. This we did at night, and the next day there appeared a catspaw on the water.
At sight of this the Captain gave orders to set sail - all that the ship could carry. Before they could do so, a wind began to blow, increasing so that we had to take in some of the sails. We now sailed along like a steam engine, with the wind continually increasing.
A few days later another storm came on with thunder rolling and lightening flashing, and the rain came down in torrents. The sea rolled mountains high, and we were again locked down under the main deck. The Captain thought we would surely go to the bottom and cried out to his men to come out and work the ship. He stationed men at different ropes with axes in their hands to cut them away the moment he should give the word to let the mast go overboard. He thought his ship would be lost, but the Elders told him we were headed for New Orleans and that we would reach our destination. I was singing "Come all Ye Sons of Zion", etc. and the mate remarked, "These Damned 'Mormons' would sing if they knew for sure they were going to the bottom of the sea". I had no fear at all, though we were in a dangerous condition.
The Elders now again assembled in prayer. I was with them, and we could hardly stay on our knees, as the ship was rolling so badly, but we asked the Lord to stay the storm. He heard our prayers and the storm was stayed so that we again saw daylight.
At this time I went up on deck and looking at the sea rolling mountains high, I saw another ship some little distance away, rolling and pitching as badly as our own. From this time on we had good weather for the balance of the voyage
We had a young girl aboard who became acquainted with one of the sailors and gave us some trouble. When we finally docked at New Orleans, she went away with him and I never saw her after.
My wife was very ill during the entire journey across the sea, catching a severe cold from which she never completely recovered, and which later was the cause of her death.
We kept a straight course until we sailed into the Gulf of Mexico, and we all began straining our eyes to see the steamboat which was to come out and tow us into the harbor at New Orleans, but that day we looked in vain. The next day we again went up on deck and looked and looked, and at last we saw something that looked like smoke some miles away, which proved to be a steamboat that was coming out to meet us. She came at a speed of about eighty miles, and at last she came along side.
Her Captain asked $200.00 to tow us in, but our Captain felt that this was too much; however, they at last made a bargain and took us in tow. The only reason our Captain agreed to this outrageous price was because of a strong headwind, which was blowing at the time.
We now felt to thank God that we had completed this part of our journey in safety.
Finally we dropped anchor at the mouth of the Mississippi River. I saw a great wave strike the side of the ship, which traveled much faster than a race horse; however, it did not injure the ship, but went by without harming us. As it came rolling in, the mate said to me, "See that wave?" As I answered, it struck the ship, and by the way he spoke, I am sure he thought the ship would be thrown on her beam end, but the Lord delivered us, watching over us on the mighty deep.
I spotted a whale some one hundred yards off, which was about sixty or seventy feet long. The Captain said it was asleep. Porpoises also played around the ship in great numbers which were about four or five feet long and as large around as a common hog. Flying fish were also plentiful, as well as sea birds and sharks.
I had organized a choir of singers and we practiced and sang for our meetings. We remained at the mouth of the Mississippi only one night, being towed up the river the following morning.
The Americans came to the ship with new bread and fruits and other things to sell, which we bought, finding it very good.
We arrived in New Orleans in about twenty-four hours after a safe journey. I went to a store to purchase bread and other provisions, as we were nearly starved, our provisions having been exhausted after a journey on the water of eight weeks and two days. My wife improved after we landed, with more rest and nourishing food.
We remained in New Orleans only until we could get passage up the river for St. Louis, which was about two days. We remained on the ship this time, until the steamboat arrived which was a large and powerful boat called the "Sultana", accommodations of, which were very poor, as we had only steerage passage, having to cook, eat and sleep as best we could.
The crew was made up of very wicked cursing men, who cared nothing for anything good.
The river is about a hundred yards wide, some places being a half mile or more, with beautiful woods on both sides for miles and miles sometimes cities on it's banks right down to the river. Every so often wood yards appeared, where the river traffic stopped to take on wood, as the boats burned wood to get up stream.
The head cook of this boat fell in love with my wife - such a love as it was - who had to go to the cookhouse for hot water, and he gave her soup and other nice things, so we fared better than some of the Saints in this respect. We thought he was in fun but found out that he was in dead earnest. He threatened to shoot me when we reached St. Louis, and said he would then run off with her. But he did not carry out his plans, as I was too sharp for him.
We arrived safely in St. Louis in the month of November 1849, about six days journey from New Orleans. I knew not where to go, as I had little or no money and no house. At last I found Brother Brain who had come from Bristol the previous year, and he took us to his house. The next day I found two rooms in the basement of a house, which I rented for $4.00 per month. My landlord was a Gentile by the name of Mr. Wood.
My wife was very ill now as we had been exposed to cold and privations on the steam boat. I brought my straw bed off the boat and my small box, which contained all our effects.
We stayed at Brother Brains that night. The weather was very cold and winter coming on, getting colder every day.
The following morning I went to my rooms and found them empty. I brought my bed and box and put them in one of the rooms. I laid the bed on the floor, then brought my sick wife and put her to bed, then left to find something for her, as I had no stove, no wood or coal to burn, no light, no money, and nothing to eat, and my wife laying sick on the floor, unable to help herself. A pretty fix to be in, in a strange land!
The worst of all to me was the fact that my wife was so sick. If she had been well I would have felt much better - I had no one to help me and not one dollar to my name. I felt very bad, looking at my wife and knowing that she needed many things which I could not get for her just then.
There was a fire place in one room, so I went to get some fire wood - where I got it I cannot tell now; but I made a fire, warming up the room, got something to eat, and a warm drink, doing the best I could for the night.
My wife felt a little better the next morning, so I went forth without purse or scrip to see what I could do.
I went to Brother Edward Brain, who was in the baking business, and asked him to let me have some bread every day until I could get work and then I would pay him, as soon as I found work.
I did all kinds of work - anything I could get, then I bought a bedstead and sold a pair of boots which I had brought with me from England, for an old stove. This was a great blessing to us.
My rent was about due by this time and my wife still being very sick, I did not know were I would get the $4.00, but just before the due date I managed to get enough money to pay it. The Lord had opened up the way so I felt more secure for another month.
Phillip Westwood, who lived next door to us and was very kind, loaned us many things for our house, as we had nothing of our own at this time.
I went to Brother Adams and told him I could get no work, so he told me to go home and dress up in my best, put a watch in my pocket, and a walking cane in my hand, then go out and ask for work and he felt sure I could get it.
I followed his advice and obtained work at a sugar factory fitting steam pipes in the drying house, where the sugar was dried, for which I was paid $8.00 per week, but this job lasted only about three weeks, so I was out of work again.
I next found work at a foundry for a few weeks. I bought a bedstead and some other things for our use in the house and began to feel more comfortable.
My wife was feeling much better and could do her own housework now.
I was appointed to lead the choir in the Latter-Day Saints meetings, a place which I held as long as I stayed in St. Louis. The Mormon meetings were held in Concert Hall on Market Street each Sunday. I do not recollect being absent from my post but once in the two years that I remained in St. Louis. (parts of two years - November 1849 to the spring of 1852 srw)
I was now out of work again, and someone told me to try my luck at selling tea around the country, so I bought a large quantity of tea, and weighed it up into quarter and half pounds to peddle around the country. I made just enough to keep us from starving and that was all, after walking many miles each day, but I had no license so I had to give it up.
My wife and I went to meeting now most every Sunday. Summer was coming and it was getting very hot. I have seen it as hot in St. Louis in May as it is in Utah in July.
One time I was invited to take dinner with a friend aboard a Steamboat, which was quite an experience. I had never seen food "bolted" - I believe some of the guests were not more than four minutes at the table. This waiter came to me with a clean plate for my pie before I had half finished the main course. Fast eating seemed to be the custom of the country but I did not understand this and I suppose they thought I was a long time eating, for I took my time.
I had now been in St. Louis nearly a year (October - November 1850?? srw) but still I had no steady work, yet I lived and paid my way without running into debt.
Now, again I dressed myself in my very best, (having some very good clothes that I had brought from England) and went to the Eagle Foundry to ask for work. The boss asked what I could do, and upon telling him that I could do anything, he told me to come to work the next morning, which I did, working here for one year at $8.50 per week, and my money was always ready every week.
I now saved money with which to come to the Valley. The following year provisions were very cheap, mutton being but five cents per pound, bacon two or three cents, and other things in proportion.
We now lived well and saved money.
I went to the theater with Brother Westwood, the first I had ever attended. He, myself and others prepared an entertainment, where I sang the "Star Spangled Banner" dressed in a sailor uniform. The chorus was sung by six young ladies, three on either side of me, and the banner floating over the audience.
About this time my brother, James, came from England staying with us for nearly a year, along with a young man by the name of James Harwood, who now lives in Lehi, Utah.
I now began to prepare to come to the Valley, getting fitted out to cross the plains. This was a tremendous task for me but I was saving all the money I could to accomplish this. We were to start the following spring of 1852, this being the winter of 1851.
My wife now had a good deal more to do with an addition of two to our family. They lived with us most of the winter and then Mr. Harwood found work and left, coming to Utah the following spring.
On the 8th of January 1852, my wife gave birth to a son, at which time I had all I could attend to as I could get but very little help, and my wife was a long time regaining her strength and getting around. She was never very well after.
Crossing the Plains
In the spring (1852 srw) I bought a light wagon and a yoke of cows with which to cross the plains.
My brother, who had arrived in America, started with this team for Council Bluffs, a distance of 500 miles, with a large company. I, with my wife and infant son, went by steam boat up the Missouri River, planning to meet the company at Council Bluffs.
We had a very poor passage on this boat, as there was very little comfort for a woman and a young baby on a steam boat, but we did the best we could. The boat was grounded once and was in danger of going down stream, but after a while she got off and went along alright.
We arrived at the Bluffs finally and stayed there for sometime. I found my wagon broken and that one of my cows had died, leaving me with but one cow to cross the plains.
I was now in a Strange land with no home, no provisions, very little money, a sick wife, and a three month old baby. Not knowing what to do, I told my circumstances to Brother Brain, who offered to take us as passengers in his wagon if we could pay "so" much - I do not remember the amount I paid, but it was all I had after selling my cow, my wagon, and my outfit, but it was satisfactory with him.
We began our journey on the 9th of June, 1852, from the Missouri river, to cross the mighty plains with oxen and wagons, taking with us provisions to last about three or four months.
My brother went with some other teams in another company.
Our company was made up of fifty wagons with one head Captain over all, (Captain Howell). He then divided us into companies of tens - ten wagons to a company with a captain over each ten. We were amongst the first ten and took the lead, my family being in the second wagon.
We traveled about ten or twelve miles the first day, then camped for the night.
There were nine of us sharing Brother Brain's wagon, three women, two men, and four children, and we were packed in very closely I can assure you.
We arose at dawn, prepared and ate our breakfast after which we rounded up the cattle, and again were on the move, traveling about fifteen or twenty miles, which was our average mileage each day.
I had a sick wife and baby to take care of besides taking my turn at standing guard. I had to cook and wash for my wife, my baby and myself and do camp duties and everything, as my wife was unable to do anything.
She had no milk for her baby, making it necessary to feed him on cows milk from a bottle, which was a great trial as we had no cow of our own. I went around camp every morning to get milk for him.
I also had to drive team and do all camp duties besides.
We held meetings on Sundays and laid over to rest. Sometimes we had a little dance in the evenings when things went well. This was the first time I had ever seen a Cotillion danced in all my life, but I soon learned to dance them and also other dances.
I drove an ox team 500 miles and walked all the way with bare feet, through mud holes and creeks, and waded through rivers, over rough rocks, prickly pears and hot sands - 500 miles barefooted, which made my feet as tough as an ox hoof.
One time I was carrying a young girl through a creek when my foot became stuck in the mud and down I went in the water - girl and all. We had a good soaking but reached the opposite bank alright.
One time I went on ahead of the train about a mile, and saw a pack of wolves. I thought they were dogs until I got nearer to them, then I discovered they were wolves. I tried to drive them away but they just stood and looked at me until they heard the teams coming, then they left - one at a time, for which I was very glad. That was the only time I ever scouted ahead of the wagons.
I was on guard duty one night when a herd of deer rushed by like the wind. As this particular territory was noted for grizzly bears, I believe they were after the deer although I did not see them, nor was I anxious to make their acquaintance out there all by myself in the dark of night.
We now came to a place where the Indians were thought to be troublesome, so that night we corralled the cattle and put on an extra guard - me. The night was very dark, thunder rolled, lightening flashed, and the rain poured down in torrents. I tucked my gun under my poor coat, trying to keep it dry, but my coat failed to keep me or my gun dry that night. I walked around the wagons outside and listened for any unusual noises, for I could not see my hand before me. No Indians came that night, for which I was very glad, and I never shall forget that time. At day break we left the cattle out to feed with a strong guard to watch them.
One night we camped in a willow patch and had to carry our water from a spring. I went with two buckets, one in each hand, but the mosquitoes covered both hands and face, and I had to set my bucket down to brush them off, but they came right back. I had to blow them out of my mouth until I reached the campfire smoke. There had been a warm rain just before we had camped, which made them worse.
We burned buffalo chips for firewood to cook with as there was no wood in this region.
My wife was very ill, becoming worse as we traveled, and the baby was a great care and trouble to her, as she was too weak to wash and dress him. We were in hopes that she would improve after reaching the Valley, but she did not.
We passed through many trying scenes during this journey, which I will not write at this time.
Salt Lake City
We arrived at the mouth of Emigration Canyon on the 15th of September, 1852, a journey of four months. I came on down into the city that day, leaving my wife in the wagon at the mouth of the canyon, returning that same evening and attended a meeting.
The next day we came on into Salt Lake City.
I had a sick wife and a six month old baby and knew not where to go as I was a stranger and knew no one. I had no wagon, no team, and but 25¢ in money; however, I soon found a house that had a roof that was open in the top and it was not plastered, which made it very cold and miserable, out it was the best we could do.
We stayed here about one week but as my wife was unable to care for our son, I found a woman who was willing to care for him at $1.50 per week, which I paid as soon as I found work.
I could see that I would have to find better quarters for my wife as she was gradually getting worse, so I found a house which was owned by Sister Dalton and she consented to care for her, but she still became worse.
One time Brigham Young came to visit her and administered to her, at which time he promised her that she would improve and be able to come and have her endowments.
I finally found work on the Public Works and came to see my wife every night and could see that she was getting weaker. Consumption had set in and she was nothing but skin and bone. She suffered a great deal and just five weeks after we arrived in Salt Lake City she passed away - a good Latter-Day Saint and martyr to her religion.
Death of Charlotte Burgum
I felt terrible and cried without ceasing for half a day, until I could cry no more, but I felt worse - there she lay dead in the midst of strangers and there was I without one cent of money with which to bury her. I went to the president of public works telling him of my situation, who let me have $5.00 with which to purchase her burial clothes, and I got her casket at the public works. One of the carpenters made it and I paid him $9.00. The sisters made her a very nice robe and other clothing to correspond, and she was laid away very nicely in the Salt Lake Graveyard.
She passed away on the 22nd of October, 1852, at the age of 23. We had been married about two years. (18th of August, 1849 to 22nd of October, 1852 = 3 years and 2 months - srw)
It is impossible to describe my feelings at this time for I felt the loss of my wife very deeply.
I paid Sister Dalton with my wifes clothes for taking care of our boy. I paid everything I had for his care until I had nothing left. I felt so alone in the world, and did not stay at Sister Dalton' s place after she passed away.
I worked at the Public works for about three or four years, helping to dig the foundation for the Salt Lake Temple and cut stone for same. I was present when Brigham Young broke the ground.
Winter was coming on now and I found a place to board for the winter and paid for it with work. I had no clothes but what I stood up in, and I needed winter clothing very badly, but I could not afford to get any, and as the winter was a very hard one, I suffered very much. Winter set in on the 8th of November and did not let up until the following spring in April. I had a few bed clothes and a corn husk bed, and a thin worn out old wagon cover. Many a night I crept into bed almost frozen, the snow being on it when I retired and I had to shake it off when I got up in the morning. I ate my meals in the house and slept out of doors in my wagon box at night. Some nights the wind blew and the snow drifted in on my bed until I thought I should freeze to death. Sometimes my feet were so cold that I could not get them warm to save me, and I lay in misery all night. I spent the entire winter in this way.
I did not have enough to eat nor could I keep warm. I got ten pounds of flower each week, with which I paid for my board and anything else I could get. I earned more but could not get it, so I lived on bread, potatoes, and crust coffee, and was very glad to get that . At this time I became acquainted with a young man by the name of John Jones, who was a musician, and we played for parties, sometimes asking a few dollars in this way - occasionally we were also furnished our supper, for which I was very glad. This kept me out late and when I finally went to my lonely wretched bed, I did not know but what I would freeze to death before morning.
But the Lord was with me and kept me alive and safe through all this. I played for Brigham Youngs parties at the Social Hall in Salt Lake City, which helped me a little, but I paid $1.50 per week for the care of my boy whenever I could.
I was one of the first to help start Theatricals in Salt Lake City, being engaged in the musical department of this Company and it was I who proposed - the name of John T. Caine as one worthy to join, who made a great addition to it.
I also joined the Nauvoo Brass Band and played with them for nearly four years.
I played a solo Ophecleide, and went into training each year with the Nauvoo Legion, where I was appointed Drum Major.
Thus passed my first winter in Utah.
In the spring I purchased a city lot located in the 11th ward, which I wished to fence.
One day I started for Big Cottonwood Canyon along with my brother and Brother Brain to get fence poles for that purpose. This was in April. After reaching the canyon we went up the mountain about a half mile to cut timber. We got it down about half way when night came on, so we set up our tent for the night. After supper we retired, but about midnight a bad snow storm came up and it thundered and lightninged very badly and the snow came down so heavy that it broke down our tent on top of us. We broke camp and started for home in the night. There was now a foot of snow, so we left everything and started back down the canyon for home. The snow was so deep that we had to make track, which was very hard work, arriving home about noon the next day.
The storm cleared up after a few days so I went back to get my poles all alone. I went up the mountain to the same place and began cutting poles again. The clouds began to gather fast and there all around me, and it began to storm, but I still went on cutting, until all of a sudden my foot slipped and I fell, hitting my head on a stump which knocked me out, and there I lay - how long I do not know. When I came to I looked all around for my ax but could find it nowhere at which I was greatly surprised for I knew it could not be far a way. I felt very bad about this as I had no money with which to buy another and axes were worth a great deal at this time. My head ached and I felt very bad, so I decided to go home and not come any more alone.
I saw a very large eagle circling just above me - bears and wolves were in these parts but I did not know that, so I went on home.
In a few more days I again went to get my poles, but this time I took my brother with me. Upon arriving at the same place, there lay my ax right where I had fallen.
I was riding on the running gears this time, and fell on my head in the wheel. My brother stopped the team at once or my neck would have been broken, for which I am grateful to the Lord, who has protected me and preserved my life many times.
We got our load of poles this time - after the third try, and fenced my lot so I could hold it.
I now purchased a wagon box and put it on my lot, living in it all that summer and cooking for myself with Sister Brain to bake my bread. Thus I lived for nearly a year at which time, I started to build me a house without one cent of money, nor did I know where I was going to get any. I worked around from one job to another and finally completed one room, which was the first house I had ever owned in all my life.
The next year Brother Harte and wife came to live in my house, and she cooked for me which was a great help.
I went to work on the city wall to work out my taxes and in addition was paid a little flour. Sugar was forty cents per pound, flour $6.00 per hundred, and all other commodities in proportion.
I felt very lonely and was desirous of getting a wife, for I could see that I could live and get along better with a wife in this country.
I became acquainted with a young girl and kept company with her for about six months, at which time I thought of marriage, but she wanted to be the first wife, asking me to put her before Charlotte. I told her that she nor any other woman could ever take Charlotte's place, so we split up. Her mother, Mrs. Barney Royal, kept my boy and cared for him for quite sometime, for which I paid her. They lived in the 7th Ward in Salt Lake City and the daughter was named Melissa.
As I played at a good many parties, I met quite a number of young girls. I also met several at meetings, whom I felt I would like to make my wife, but when I decided on one, I found that she was already married.
Marriage - Mary Millns
Brother Jones, the man with whom I played, had met and tried to keep company with a girl by the name of Mary Millns, but did not get very far with this courtship, so I told him I thought I would try. He said that I could try but he was certain that I wouldn't get very far because if he couldn't get her, he was sure I couldn't. Anyway I said I would try, which I did and won her in about three weeks, after which we were married by Bishop Lytle of the 11th ward in Salt Lake City, on the 7th day of January, 1854.
I took her to my little house that same night, where we had very little with which to begin housekeeping. I had no bed, no stove, and no cooking utensils with which to cook, but a frying pan. We also had two tin plates, an old bedstead, some bed clothes, a big factory sack with a few corn shucks in it for a mattress, two three-legged stools, one fork, one knife, and one spoon. I think this was all of our earthly possessions. We had to borrow a bake kettle for two years before we could get one of our own, for which I gave ten dollars, and was glad to get it.
I pitched into work and soon got some more things around getting a good-bed and other things. We had to work very hard and lived hard.
I worked at the public works for about four years, and in the meantime made adobes, walking about three miles each day with nothing but dry bread to eat, and earned $5.00 per day.
1854 the Grasshoppers
During the year of 1854, the grasshoppers came and devoured all the crops, eating every green thing. They took every bit of the wheat, so that we had no crop that year.
This was very trying times for everyone in the valley. I knew not what to do as I could get nothing to eat for work and I had no money with which to buy - even if we had had money very few people had anything to sell. Things got worse and worse. People had to dig roots for something to eat, finding anything they could to live on.
My wife was nursing her first baby at this time and she went from house to house to get a meal, anything she could, in order to live. The baby drew blood from the breast sometimes instead of milk.
I went twenty miles one day to try and get something to eat. but all I got was a boiling of potatoes and a candle.
I went from house to house, asking for something to eat but could not get much as people did not have anything to give. I sometimes got a drink of buttermilk and a piece of hard bread.
I went to the house of Brother Lorenzo D. Young one time, as I was very hungry. I asked for something to eat and his wife gave me a piece of salt rising bread, which I ate and it was sweeter than any sponge cake I had ever eaten in all my life. I never shall forget that piece of bread nor the woman who gave it to me, and I say God bless her forever.
Another time I went fourteen miles and got three pounds of shorts.
One time I got some bran and we sifted it to make a cake and that was very good. When the cake was gone I still had the siftings, so I mixed them up with water, but could not make them stick, so I put them into the frying pan and tried to bake it into a cake but it would not stick, so I browned it as well as I could and tried to eat it but I could not go it - it was like chalk, so I had to give up.
My wife went to President Kimball to get some flour, as he was giving some to the poor at this time. He gave her seven pounds and she made some cakes and cooked them in the frying pan and I tell you they were good.
We gathered greens, pig weeds, and beet tops - anything we could get that was edible and lived on the best we could find.
One time we were seven days without flour in our house, living on greens and anything we could get.
The next year a light crop was raised and we milled a little flour from time to time and got along a little better. I went to work and put up another room to my house.
In 1854 my mother, my brother Martin and wife, and my sister Amelia came to the Valley, staying with us at our house for a year.
My brother was very ill and died about three weeks after his arrival in the Valley and was buried in the Salt Lake Graveyard. Soon after this, his wife was taken very ill, and thinking she was going to die, wished to be sealed to her husband. I went to Brigham Young and told him of this, so he sent President I. Grant to attend to it, who sealed her dead husband to her thru me, I standing proxy for him.
About three months later she was delivered of a son, the son of my brother, Martin, her dead husband.
She lived in our home for about seven months from the time she came to the Valley. She then left - married another man, apostatized from the Church, and went to California to live and I have not seen her since. Her son is still living, being named after his father, Martin Weight. (This man was the first mayor of the City of Pasadena in California).
In the year of 1856, I, with my family, left Salt Lake City to come to Springville, some 56 miles south, where we made our home. I, having a wife, one child, and a few things with which to keep house, but no team, no money, and no place of my own, went to live with Walter Savage and his wife - all in one house.
We lived here for about six weeks, then I purchased a half lot from Bishop Aaron Johnson, then bishop of Springville, for which I paid with hard work, then built a dugout in which to live, completing same in eight days, and moved my family into it.
We lived here for one year, then I built an adobe house of one room with a dirt roof. When it rained we had to hold an umbrella over us when we went to bed to keep the rain off. The floor was as wet inside of the house as the street outside. We have been in this fix many times. (I should have said we arrived in Springville on the 3rd of November, 1856.)
I was appointed choir leader of the Springville branch in the same month, which office I have held for twenty-five years. I have sung thousands and thousands of hymns and tunes and taught them to others. I have attended thousands of funerals and have sung hymns and anthems to hundreds of them. I had to work for a living all this time, attending to my duties in the Church as well, without any pay.
I took up my plastering tools and went to work at that trade, having worked at it for more than twenty-six years. I have plastered hundreds of houses in Springville and surrounding places. I worked on the public roads, made water ditches in the canyons and fields and other places helped to build meeting houses, paying taxes for same, also school houses and all public improvements. I have done as much as any one man, in helping to build Springville. I was here during the great move of the Mormons from Salt Lake City in the year 1858, when the U. S. Army came into the Valley, and the Mormons fled from their homes to southern settlements for refuge and safety.
About the year of 1861 or 1862 the creek called Hobble Creek rose-very high, washing away it's banks, causing great destruction of city lots, and destroying a great deal of property.
A great log was placed across from one bank to the other - the only means of crossing over from one side to the other. I had to cross it one night, in order to get home. I was very frightened but if I returned home I must cross over this log. The water was boiling in torrents below and I knew if I fell in it meant certain death. The moon was shining on the water, which dazzled my eyes, making me afraid to venture. I was all alone at about 11:00 at night, so I started and by the help of God I reached the opposite shore and home safely. It was about forty feet across and an experience I shall never forget.
I passed through all the scenes of the reformation in Springville about the year 1856, having seen many things take place here - some good, some not so good. I always have tried to mind my own business and find that it is the best policy.
I worked along from day to day and made a living the best way I could. I now built a house on a lot that I had purchased east of the city, and set out an orchard. I now raised my own garden and potatoes and other things, which I found to be of great help to us as a family.
I also bought another city lot and sold it to Mr. Walter Wheeler for 11 acres of land on what is now called Dry Creek in the West fields.
I worked on the ditch of the Big Pasture to help fence it and cut hay there for my cow.
I now needed a team very badly, but I had nothing with which to get one. I could get very little money for my work, so I went down south to plaster a large house for a Mr. N. Taylor, working about six or seven weeks for which I was paid with a span of mules, bringing them home with me, I then got an old wagon, a few farming tools, and went to work on my own land with my boys, to raise my own bread and potatoes which made things a little better for my family and me.
In the year of 1865, I entered into the principle of Polygamy and took another wife according to my belief in the religion that I embraced - Elizabeth Bocock by name, a very good woman, and one with whom I have lived happily ever since. Although there are many things in this double life to put up with, which is not so pleasant. Yet I believe it to be a commandment of God, so I obeyed and tried to do the best I could.
I have suffered many thins for my religion and do not expect to gain Exaltation in the Kingdom of God without suffering, for we are told that it is through suffering that we are made perfect. And here let me say that all who do not enter into this principle cannot have exaltation among the Gods. Much more could be said on this subject, but I will pass on to scenes of my life.
My two families lived on the same lot in separate houses tor over six years. I then bought a place on the east bench of the City, about seven acres of land, and built a house, then moved my second wife and children into it. It was about a mile and a quarter from one house to the other, and I stayed with my families week about, for seventeen years, making some 6,000 miles of walking in that time.
During the Indian troubles of this country, I have stood guard day and night without one cent of pay. I have been out in all kinds of weather with my gun, not knowing but that the Indians would be upon us any minute.
One night I was appointed Captain of the Guard, being told to make fires for a signal if the Indians came, to alarm the City, but we did not see any.
I went out one day to help guard the cow herd with my gun, returning safely that night.
We went to the canyons for wood to burn, in companies well armed, and I went to Provo many a time to drill being away three days every year, in order to learn how to defend ourselves and families against the Redman or any other foe.
My wife Elizabeth has borne nine children to me, four of whom are now dead, two having died twelve hours apart - a boy age six and a girl four. They lay side by side in the house at the same time. We held a double funeral, this being a very trying time in my life and one I shall never forget.
One year later we buried another boy age ten - a fine boy for his age. This brought back the old feeling again, making us very sad, never-the-less we had to say "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, and blessed be the name of the Lord". They are all buried in the Springville City Cemetery.
I shall never forget the feelings I had upon returning home from the funeral, not seeing them around the house nor outside as I had been used to. Oh! I cannot describe the feelings I had, nor can anyone but those who have suffered the loss of a loved one.
As soon as I returned home I went straight to bed as I was very ill with a light attack of Diphtheria, and was about a week recovering from this illness.
At this time I was destitute for money, so much so that I made the coffins in which my children were buried, trimming them with white inside and out.
They were buried on the 14th of February, 1879.
Our son Wallace, age 10 was buried on the 5th of February, 1880.
After our great loss, I worked very hard at plastering and any other work I could get, but with a very heavy heart. I felt bowed down to the very earth, yet I kept it bottled up within me - grieving in silence, and prayed to the Lord to give me strength to bear all that might come, as I was passing through many trials at that time both in poverty as well as family affairs. I had no peace within me night or day, many times walking the streets all night crying and praying to the Lord to comfort me in my distress.
At this time I could write a volume regarding the troubles and trials that I passed through with my wife Mary, for we did not live happily for more than twenty-one years of our married life, however, I forebear to write about it, except for one or two things which I shall just mention.
She had me up before the teachers about six times; and once in the days of Bishop Bringhurst, she asked for a divorce, saying that she would no longer live with me. But I passed this off, taking no notice of these threats.
She made the statement that she would not obey my counsel nor would she live with me in eternity, and many other things, which brought on an alienation of feeling, making our lives very miserable - the thousandth part of which I do not wish to write. Thus we lived for years, with feelings getting no better as time went on.
About this time I had a very severe pain over my right eye, it being so bad that I could get no rest day or night. The place was about as large as the ball of my thumb and I have never had any bodily pain as severe as this in all my life. I tried everything I could think of for relief, but nothing did any good and I thought I could surely die of pain several times; however, the Lord came to my rescue at last. My wife Elizabeth did everything she could for me during this time, which I shall never forget.
On the 25th of March, 1880, our youngest son, whom we named Ralph was born. This was very hard for us because of our poverty, as I knew not where to turn to earn a dollar. I prayed to the Lord, who opened the way. My wife was sick and I was sick and unable to work and we had no money, which was a most trying time for us.
I have found in my experience during my lifetime, that there are three very great trials, which tried me to the very core, namely Sickness, Poverty, and Polygamy, and I went through all three at the same time; however, in spite of all this, I have remained true to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and faithfully attended my duties in same. I have been a teacher in the Springville Sunday School from it's very beginning, being the oldest member in it up to the present time - about 25 years, and am proud to say that I am still a member and hope to be as long as I live.
I went to work for Bishop Johnson, plastering. While working on a scaffold one time about 12 feet high, it gave way, causing me to fall to the ground. A heavy two-inch plank landed on my back and I thought surely it was broken. I was taken home in a wagon, where I was laid up for about a month, suffering severe pain all this time.
Another time, while working on the Springville Theatre on a scaffold about 15 feet high, it also gave way and again I fell to the ground, injuring me very badly this time, much worse then before. I was unable to work for quite sometime after this fall.
I have had many narrow escapes during my life, but by the mercy of God, I have been brought through safely with my life being spared.
Sometime after this, while I was stricken with very severe pain in my right side and could find nothing with which to relieve it, suffering night and day. I took morphine to ease the pain, but as soon as it wore off the pain returned, causing me to walk the floor night and day - still no relief. I then took Laudanum to deaden the pain, but as soon as the effect of this wore off the pain still returned. Thus I suffered for two or three weeks, and I thought this time I must surely die. Finally my side broke out in red spots resembling boils, which eased the pain and I began to feel better; thus my life was saved. This was a great affliction to me, and one I shall never forget.
Edmunds Law Arrest
Soon after this, the Edmunds Law (or Manifesto as it was also called) was passed, and of course, I came under this, expecting to be arrested at any time. Sure enough, about 5:00 A.M.. on the 26th day of April, 1887, two marshalls appeared at my door to arrest and take me to Provo. This frightened my wife Elizabeth very much, upon being informed of their identity and purpose of this visit.
It so happened that I was away at this time, as I had gone to Salt Lake City on business. My wife told them this, but they searched every nook and corner of my home to try and find me.
She sent me a letter at once to tell me of this after a which I came home immediately, and did all I could, but they were after every man they could find who had more than one wife.
The following 12th of November I was arrested and taken to Provo, being bound over in the sum of $1,000.00 to await the action of the grand jury. My trial was to come off the following February.
My wife Elizabeth was arrested soon after, being placed under a $300.00 bond to appear against me as a witness, as was my son George, also a Mrs. Oakley. This was a very trying time for me as well as for Elizabeth and famlly.
Not one of Mary's family or Mary came near to comfort me or offer to do anything for me. NO! Not one word! This made me feel very bad and I took their silence very hard at the time, but I pass it by.
My trial was postponed until the 10th of March, 1888, at which time I pled guilty, then my sentence was set for the 24th .
On the 19th my son Eugene, age 11 years, was taken very ill with a disease called peritonitis and he became worse and worse, even though we were doing everything we could for him, so we called Dr. Pike to see him, but he gave us little or no hope that he would recover. We were up night and day, but in spite of all we did for him he passed away on the 7th of April.
Before this I went to Provo to court, to receive my sentence, right at the time he was the very worst - he was dying when I left.
I shall never forget how hard it was for me to tear myself away from my dying boy to go to prison, never expecting to see him again in this life. I left on the morning of the 24th of March, 1888, at which time a dreadful storm had arisen.
I looked at my dying boy, my weeping wife, and my children and could not hold back the tears of bitter anguish which I felt. My son George had the team ready for me, and giving last look at my family, I went out into the storm, and we got a good wetting.
Before I left, Brother John Tuckett arrived, coming up through the storm to see me and gave a few dollars, which was very acceptable, for not having one dollar of my own. Brother Edward Child also loaned me $5.00, also Bishop Packard, to take with me to the pen, with which to buy milk and other supplies upon my arrival in Provo.
The marshall took charge of us in Provo, and when my name was called, I went up to receive my sentence, which was that I would be confined to the penitentary for 60 days.
I was then marched into an upper room with the other prisoners, numbering 18 or 20, where the authorities took a description of every man, such as color of hair and eyes, height, weight, age, and duration of sentence - everything they thought necessary.
We were then marched down to the train to be taken to the penitentiary in Salt Lake City; but to my surprise an order had come from Judge Henderson for my release - I was to be let off with a fine of $100.00 which I was to pay instead of going to the pen.
How did all this come about? I will now tell how the Hand of the Lord was in all this:
Brother James E. Hall had been working on my case for two or three weeks prior to this time, and had talked with the Judge who had tried my case telling him of my circumstances which caused him to pronounce a lighter sentence.
Others also interceded for me.
After the trial Judge Dusenberry of Provo said to Judge Henderson "I am well satisfied with all that has been done today, except one thing."
"What is that?" asked Judge H.
"I think it is too bad that old man (meaning me) has to go to prison."
"What was I to do?" asked Judge H. "He can't pay his fine. Has he any friends?"
"Yes,"said Judge D. " I am his friend."
"Well, will you go his security?" asked Judge H.
"Yes, I will." said Judge D.
"Then," said the Judge, "I will let him off with a $100.00 fine."
"Write the order at once and I will fetch him back from the train."
Judge Dusenberry then phoned to hold the train until he could get there, but the Conductor said he could not hold the train any longer. Just as it was ready to pull out the judge arrived and gave the order to the marshal in charge. A voice then called out to me to bring my carpet bag and get off, which I was not long in obeying.
James E. Hall had taken up a collection from the people of Springville and raised money for my fine in less than half a day, and I was a free man once more.
It was by the mercy of God that I got off so well. I had been asked to obey the law of the land and by doing so, things would be alright, but I told them I would make no promises, and I did not after which I was 1et off wlth a fine. Brother Will Wiscombe, Brother Clements, and Brother Manwaring came to my house before I went to Provo to receive my sentence, administered to my boy and at the same time gave me a blessing. Brother Wiseombe felt that I would not have to go to the pen, and so it was - the Hand of the Lord being with me and gulding me through this trial, even tho those of my family who should have been true to me failed me -- yet the Lord raised up friends to help me that I did not know of, and I thank Him for it.
I returned home the same night, on the 27th of March, at which time I found my boy gradually getting weaker. My wife was very glad of my return but greatly surprised that I should come home so soon. I told her of my release and together we thanked God, for we could see the working of His hand in bringing all this about.
Here let me say that I heartily thank all of my friends who stood by me at this time.
I now gave all my time to my sick boy. I had no money with which to help my family as I paid back the money that had been loaned to me when I returned home. My boy now began to mortify and we knew that he could not last much longer. He was in great pain until the end, which was on the 1st day of April, at which time our neighbors washed and prepared him for burial.
I made his casket myself as I had no money with which to buy one which was a very hard thing for me to do. He is buried in the Springville City Cemetery.
On the 24th of July, 1887 an advertisement appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune for my wife and her two sisters to communicate with Lawyers Barrow and Smith, in England, regarding a little property which had been left to them from their brothers estate.
He had passed away of a heart ailment, having been found dead in his bed and as he made no will, his property was to go to his brothers and sisters.
This was a great blessing to us when we finally received it, although we did not get it for more than a year. My wife wrote to England many times, but finally it came and we went to Salt Lake City and drew it at the Bank.
As soon as she received it she paid a full tithing on every cent of it. We were very thankful for this to God our Father, as we were able to pay off all our debts and had a little to spare to help us out of our extreme poverty. We had never in all our lives felt more thankful and humble.
While raising her family, Elizabeth did not get to meeting only about twice in six years, and at another time for four years.
About this time it was our desire to go to the Temple to do work for the dead; but everything seemed to work against us to prevent our going.
We owned a cow that we had planned to sell to raise money for this, but that failed us, as one night about 10:00 she fell with her head in the manger and broke her neck. We got to her just in time to see her take her last breath. That was $30.00 lost in a few minutes.
Many other things worked against us - one trouble after another, to stop us: but at last we finally started on our journey, arriving at the Logan Temple.
I was baptized for nine souls and took out endowments for three, my wife being baptized for fifteen and had endowments for three. We had a very enjoyable time, receiving blessings for ourselves as well as for our dead. Here I will say that our Temple is one of the best places I know of on earth to go, and is a great blessing to be permitted to do work for our dead, thereby gaining blessings for ourselves.
I now gave Elizabeth the deeds to her house, lot, and farming land in the year 1877, also in 1882 she received clear title to them from the first parties.
I held the deed to the property I had promised to give to Mary, for several years, as I was afraid she would sell it; however, her relatives harrassed me so, that I finally gave her all my property, retaining nothing for myself except my organ, which I had made and wanted to keep. After we parted however, I asked her for it but she said I should not have it, that she would take an ax and chop it up first, so I never did get it.
When she heard about Elizabeth's money she demanded $1,000.00, saying she would give me a divorce for it. My son Fredrick, also demanded this for his mother, but the money was not mine to give - a most unreasonable demand, for she knew that I had nothing with which to help myself.
Then I told her that I could not comply, she said she would take $500,00, which was still beyond my means as I had nothing of my own. Finally Elizabeth agreed to give her $300.00 through me, to which she agreed, and we settled it.
While we were at the Temple, Mary applied to her lawyer for a bill of divorce. On the 7th of November, 1889, I went to Salt Lake City and paid her the money in gold, getting her receipt for same, and she obtained the divorce that day from the District Court.
Although my wife Elizabeth had been my wife according to the 'Law of God for nearly 25 years, she was not recognized by the Law of the Land, so we went the next day and were married by Justice Brown according to the Law of the Land, at Provo, on New Years Day 1890. I being ill with the lagrippe, was sick for a week or more.
ln the fall of this same year, we again went to the Temple to continue our work for the dead, at which time, I was baptized for thirty, receiving endowments for three, and Elizabeth was baptized for nineteen and received endowments for three.
In 1891 we again went, this time to the Manti Temple, where I was baptized for my brother Alfred, who had passed away on the 30th of November 1890 in England, at the age of 64, and was also baptized for 23 others.
Alfred had worked at the Reading Iron Works for 35 years and at his death had left a wife and large family. My wife was baptized for 18.
Again in 1892, I was endowed for 8 and baptized for 19. I was also baptized for my friend Mr. William Lodge, and my wife for his wife.
My brother James died on the 13th of May, 1889 at the Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City, due to a fall at which time he hurt his head. He had suffered with a very bad leg for over 40 years and one month prior to his death he had it amputated.
My Wife and I went to General Conference of the Church in 1892 and witnessed the laying of the cap-stone of the Salt Lake Temple by electricity - President Woodruff touched a button and the stone swung into place.
I would judge that about 20,000 people were present at this time. It was a grand sight to see, the people cried Hosanna, Hosanna to God and the Lamb, led by Lorenzo Snow, waving handkerchiefs in the air at the same time - a scene I shall never forget.
In the year of 1892, all the Relief Societies of the Church celebrated the 17th of March, in honor of the first Relief Society organized by Joseph Smith on the 17th day of March, 1842.
The Springville Relief Society had a metal box made for the purpose of placing sketches of the lives of any one who wished to do so.
So I had photos taken of me and my wife and put them in, along with sketches of our lives, the box is not to be opened for 50 years. The box is to be handed down from one generation to another until the time comes to have it opened.
We directed our portion of the contents to our youngest child, who, if he lives, will be about 60 years of age, also to our grandsons, in order that some of them will be alive at that time. I have no doubt but that we shall have passed away years before that day, but they and their children will then read of the lives of their forefathers and also see their pictures, if they live so long.
Our son, Ralph B. Weight, played the organ in Sunday School, which was held at the 1st Ward Meetinghouse of Springville on the 2nd of April, 1893, at the age of 11 years, and played at a public concert for the first time on the 7th of May, 1894. He also played at Mapleton in Sunday School and Meeting on the 17th of June, 1894.
Six of my sons and grandsons play in the Martial Band and have their uniforms, all of them being very fond of music.
My son George was married on the 14th of December, 1892 to Hannah Lenora Childs in the Manti Temple, he being 24 years of age and she age 18.
The year of 1893, my wife, my son Ralph, and I went to the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple on the 14th of April. We had a very enjoyable time, one of the best we ever had in all our lives. The Temple is a very beautiful place, now that it is completed, which took 40 years from the time construction began to it's completion.
We have worked in three temples, Logan, Manti, and Salt Lake for both the living and the dead, for which I am very thankful.
In 1892, Springville was divided into four Wards, with a Bishop appointed to preside over each. The Relief Society was also organized in each ward on the 11th of May, with my wife being appointed as president of the First Ward Relief Society, having held that office up to the year 1896, and is still serving, holding 24 meetings each year, as well as board meetings.
I have attended most of the meetings with her and played the organ for most of them. She has assisted the poor, gathering Christmas donations for them, and has comforted the hearts of the sick and the poor many a time. It is a great work and there is much more work to it than I had any idea of before I became acquainted with it.
In 1893, I made a dulcimer for my boy Claude to play at dances, and a violin-cello for Ralph. They played at a public dance in January 1895, with their two brothers, Alfred and George, their instruments being first violin, piccolo, dulcimer and bass, which made a very good combination and good music.
In 1894, I made another dulcimer I also made toy wagons for the children and sold them in the stores for fifty cents each.
I have a turning lathe and a few tools, with which I have made most all of my furniture used in my house over the years, and many other things which I have found to be very useful and a great saving of money to me and my family.
I have made all kinds of things for my own use and have done all kinds of work in my day, being an errand boy in my younger days, have tended mason, made adobes, built my own houses, laying the foundations, the adobes, and finished the wood work, put on the shingles, plastered, whitewashed, and painted everything both inside and out, and finished it all myself.
I have worked at gardening, farming, and have worked on roads in the canyons, water ditches, and have helped build meetinghouses and school houses, grubbed oak brush off the land, and worked at plastering in Springville for about 15 years, and many other things.
Quoting from "Memories That Live", Centennial History of Utah County, compiled by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers:
When Springville was divided into four wards in 1892, the First Ward Relief Society was organized and Elizabeth Weight, Fredrick's wife, was appointed president. He attended most of the meetings with her, playing the organ for the singing. They were a familiar sight, driving their buggy and grey horse, "Old Simon" from the East Bench to Church. He sang and played at many funerals also, especially those held in the Old White Meetinghouse.
Copyright © 1996 - 2018 Shirl R Weight Thursday, 18 January 2018 12:56:06 PM