TRUTH AND LIBERTY.
No. 21. FILLMORE CITY, WEDNESDAY, JULY 28, 1858. VOL. VIII.
(FROM HIS OWN PEN.)
March 8, 1839—I attended a conference at Springfield, Illinois.
—13—I took my family and started for Quincy, where I arrived on the 16th. I dined
with Emma Smith at Judge Cleveland's. I
then went on to the bank of the river near
Quincy, and saw a great many of the Saints,
old and young, lying in the mud and water, in
a rain storm, without tent or covering, which
suffering was caused by the unhallowed perse-
cution of the State of Missouri. The sight
filled my eyes with tears, while my heart was
made glad at the cheerfulness of the Saints in
the midst of their affliction.
—17 (Sunday) —I had an interview with
President Brigham Young and John Taylor.
We held a meeting with the Saints; $50 and a
number of teams were raised to bring out the
remainder of the poor from Missouri. Prest.
Young counseled the Twelve to locate their
families for the time being in Quincy. I re-
turned to Rochester for my effects. While at
Springfield I collected $70 for the relief of the
Saints in Quincy, which I sent to them. I re-
turned to Quincy on the 8th of April, where I
left my family, and went to Far West with the
Twelve and attended the conference on the
Temple block on the 26th, where I was or-
dained one of the Twelve Apostles, on the
corner stone of the Temple, under the hands
of the Twelve, Elder Brigham Young being
mouth. Elder G. A. Smith was also ordained
at the same time. We returned to Quincy on
the 2nd day of May.
On the 3rd, in company with five of the
Twelve, I went to Judge Cleveland's, and had
a happy interview with Prest. Joseph Smith,
who had just escaped out of the hands of his
persecutors in Missouri; it was the first time
I had seen him for more than two years, and it
was a happy meeting. I attended the confer-
ence and meetings with the Saints in Quincy
until the 15th, when I moved my family to Montrose, and occupied a room in the barracks
with Prest. Young and family. I spent my
time in attending the meetings, councils and
conferences. I wrote in my journal the teach-
ings, sayings and prophecies of Joseph from
time to time, as I had opportunity.
July 22—I was with Prest. Joseph Smith
and his council and the Twelve: it was a day
of God's power with the Prophet. He healed
many who were sick nigh unto death, among
whom were Elijah Fordham and Joseph B. Nobles; even the wicked rabble followed to
see the sick healed. As Joseph was about to
cross the river a man came to him and asked
him if he would go about three miles and heal
two of his small children, who were twins,
about three months old, and were sick nigh
unto death. He was a man of the world; he
had never heard a sermon preached by a Latter-
day Saint. Joseph said he could not go, but
he would send a man. After hesitating a mo-
ment, he turned to me and said, "You go with
this man and heal his children"—at the same
time giving me a red silk handkerchief, and
said, "After you lay hands upon them, wipe
their faces with it, and they shall be healed;
and as long as you will keep that handkerchief
it shall ever remain as a league between you
and me." I went and did as I was command-
ed, and the children were healed.
On the 25th, I was attacked with chills and
fever. I had a chill every other day and was
Aug. 8—I laid my hands upon my wife and
children, blessed them, committed them into
the hands of God, and started upon my Eng-
lish mission, leaving my family sick, and with
not more than four days' provisions. Br. Brig-
ham Young rowed me across the Mississippi
in a boat; I was sick and feeble. When I
landed I laid down upon the bank of the river
on a side of sole leather. The Prophet Joseph
came along and looked at me and said, "You
are starting on your mission." I said yes, but
I look like a poor instrument for a missionary;
I look more fit for a hospital or dissecting room
than a mission. He replied, "What do you
say that for? Go ahead in the name of the
Lord, and you shall be healed and blessed on
your mission." I thanked him. A brother
came along with a wagon and carried me a
few miles on my road. I started without purse
or scrip, and passed by Parley P. Pratt, who
was hewing logs for a house; he was bare-
footed, bare-headed, without coat or vest on.
He said, "I have no money, but I have an
empty purse; I will give you that." I went a
few rods and found Elder H. C. Kimball build-
ing a log cabin; he said, "I have one dollar; I
will give you that to put in your purse." He
blessed me and I went my way, accompanied
by Elder John Taylor. I had a shake of the
ague every other day and lay on the bottom of
the wagon while I traveled.
We staid with Samuel H. and Don Carlos Smith at Macomb, and held a meeting with
the Saints, who contributed $9 to our neces-
sities, and George Miller gave us a horse.
Father Coltrin was going east; he took us into
his wagon to help up us along. We spent five
days in Springfield, where Elder Taylor print-
ed fifteen hundred copies of a pamphlet upon
the Missouri persecution. We sold our horse,
and left on the 21st and continued our journey.
We spent the night of the 24th with Dr. Modi- sett, of Terrehaute.
On the 28th, while traveling, Elder Taylor
fell to the ground as though he had been
knocked down. We administered to him, and
he revived. On the following day he fell again,
and fainted several times; it seemed as though
the destroyer would take his life; we traveled
with him four days after he was taken sick.
His sickness proved to be bilious fever. We
stopped with him two days, at a German
tavern, in Germantown, Wayne county, In-
diana, with a kind family, with whom he was
acquainted. Father Coltrin would stay no
longer; I proposed to remain with br. Taylor,
but as I was sick with fever and ague, and not
able to take care of myself, br. Taylor advised
me to continue my journey with Father Coltrin,
saying, "it is easier to take care of one sick
man than two." I committed him into the
hands of God; and the family promised to do
all in their power to make him comfortable.
I parted from him with a heavy heart.
Sept. 2—I continued my journey with Father
Coltrin to Cleveland, Ohio. I there took
steamer on the 10th for Buffalo; had a severe
gale, and did not reach Buffalo until the 12th.
I traveled to Albany on a canal boat; had the
ague daily, was very sick; had no companion
except sectarian priests, who were daily lying
about the Mormons. I took stage at Albany
for Farmington, Connecticut, on the night of
the 19th, and rode all night and the following
day; suffered severely with fever and ague. I
arrived at my father's house in Farmington on
the 21st, quite sick. I found my father and
On the 27th Sept., 1839, my maternal grand-
mother, Anna Thompson, died, aged 84; I was
too sick to attend her funeral. It is a singular
incident that my grandfather, Lot Thompson,
and Anna Thompson, his wife, Samuel Thomp- son and Mercy Thompson, all of one family,
died in their 84th year.
On the 4th October, Adner Hart, brother to
my step-mother, died, aged 43. He requested
me to preach his funeral sermon. I had been
sick at my father's house with the ague for
fifteen days, attended with a severe cough,
and the hour appointed for the funeral was the
time for my ague, yet I attended the funeral
and preached, and I had no more ague for
many days. I left on the 7th, and visited
New York, Long Island, and New Jersey, in
very poor health.
Nov. 1—I assisted Elders Clark, Wright
and Mulliner to set sail for England. Elder
John Taylor had recovered from his sickness,
and arrived in New York on the 13th Decem-
Dec. 19—In company with Elders John
Taylor and Theodore Turley, I went on board
the packet ship Oxford, and sailed for Liver- pool, where I landed January 11, 1840, in good
health and spirits. When I left my father, he
gave me some money to assist in paying my
passage; also gave me five dollars which he re-
quested me to keep until I arrived in Liverpool,
saying, I would there need it. This I found to
be true after landing; that money was all we
had to pay our expenses to Preston, and we
had twopence left.
Jan. 18—I arrived in Manchester; met Elder Wm. Clayton, who presided over that branch,
numbering 164 members. I was immediately
called upon to visit a woman possessed with
the devil; she was raging and foaming and had
to be held by four men. The more we rebuked
the devil the worse she raged. We continued
to pray and administer until we cast the devil
out. She arose and gave thanks to the Lord.
The devil then entered into a young child, and
we cast him out. I preached several times,
and laid hands on twenty-eight persons. I
went to Burslem on the 21st and met with
Elder Alfred Cordon, president of the Burslem
branch, which numbered 66. I commenced
preaching in the Staffordshire Potteries. El-
der Turley left for Birmingham on the 29th.
I remained in the Potteries some forty days,
preaching, baptizing and confirming, and bless-
March 1—As I met in the evening with a
large assembly in Hanley, the Lord revealed
unto me that it would be the last meeting that
I would hold with the Saints in the Potteries
for many days; I told the people it was the
last meeting I should hold with them for a
season; it created much excitement. I had
appointments out for a week, which I got bro.
Cordon to fill. I went before the Lord in pray-
er, and asked him where I should go; the
Spirit said, "Go to the south." According to
the directions of the Spirit, on the 3rd, I went
to Herefordshire, and called upon John Ben- bow at Castlefroom; I found a people prepared
for the gospel. I preached twice at his house.
On the 6th, I baptized six persons, including
John Benbow and wife. I here found a society
called "United Brethren," numbering about
six hundred members, and about fifty preach-
ers; Thos. Kington was the presiding elder.
They came from all quarters to hear me preach,
and believed my testimony; and I preached
and baptized daily. The ministers of the
Church of England sent three church clerks to
see what I was doing, and I baptized them.
One constable came to arrest me for preaching,
and I baptized him. In about thirty days I
baptized 160, forty eight of whom were preach-
ers of the United Brethren, including their
presiding elder, Thomas Kington.
I established forty two preaching places,
licensed according to law.
On the 9th April, I had an apointment at Haw Cross. As I was going into the meeting,
letters were put into my hands from Elder
Brigham Young and others, informing me of
his arrival with five of the Twelve, and re-
questing me to come to Preston, and attend a
general conference. A vast assembly had
gathered to attend my meeting; the house, yard,
and street were crowded; a mob had also
gathered. I preached to the people; five came
forward to be baptized. The mob surrounded
the pool, armed with stones. I dismissed the
meeting, and went away; but the congrega-
tion and mob remained on the ground till mid-
night; and as there was no prospect of their
dispersing, and the candidates were anxious to
be baptized, I went down into the water and
baptized five in the midst of a shower of
stones. The water was all in a foam for a
rod around me. None that I baptized were
hit, and I was only hit twice, once on my hip
and once on my head; the blow on my head
raised a large bump, which went away while
I was confirming: subsequently I baptized
many of the mob.
I left next morning for Preston, and attended
the conference with the Twelve, and returned
to Herefordshire, accompanied by Elder Brig-
ham Young, on the 22nd April, and was soon
joined by Elder Willard Richards. Elder
Young remained twenty seven days, preaching,
baptizing, confirming and counseling. Num-
bers were added daily to the church: he then
returned to Manchester.
I spent about seven months in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. We
baptized over eighteen hundred, including all
of the United Brethren save one. We bap-
tized over two hundred preachers of various
denominations in that part of the vineyard.
A synod of church ministers became so alarm-
ed for their flocks in that part of the vineyard,
they petitioned Parliament to adopt measures
to stop our preaching. They received for an
answer, that if they were as well acquainted
with the Bible as their hunting grounds, and
were as much interested in the welfare of the
souls of men, as the chasing of the stags and
foxes, they would not lose so many of their
Aug. 18—I visited London in company with
Elders H. C. Kimball and G. A. Smith. I
labored with them in establishing a church,
spending over five months in that populous city.
We visited nearly every part of the city, and
all the notable places that we could have
I attended all the general conferences in
England, and set sail with my brethren of the
Twelve on the ship Rochester, April 20, 1841;
arrived in New York May 20.
I went to Scarborough, Maine, after my
wife, and also my son, Wilford, who was born March 22, 1840. My daughter, Sarah Emma,
had died July 17, 1840.
I returned to New York, and started for Nauvoo, via the Lakes; was wrecked on Lake Michigan in the steamer Chesapeake, but ar-
rived in Nauvoo in safety Oct. 6, 1841, when I
had the happy privilege of meeting with the
Prophets Joseph and Hyrum, and my brethren
of the Twelve.
I bought a log house of brother Tracy, on
lot No. 1, block 106, on Hotchkiss and Durfee
Streets. Prest. Joseph Smith afterwards gave
me the lot.
"Autobiography 1858 Deseret News," p. 4, The Wilford Woodruff Papers, accessed May 22, 2022, https://wilfordwoodruffpapers.org/documents/58a8d8f5-bf47-4fb4-b8be-ad7d4ad7fd8d/page/ef8c00aa-ef1d-4f52-b7d0-48f4b2d8b557