Thursday, March 20, 2008

Chapter V Samuel SMTIH History Trek West

Mary Ann LINE SMITH first wife of Samuel SMITH.

The Iowa Era and the Trek West

Once into Iowa, Samuel sent his family with Lorenzo Snow to a settlement at Mount Pisgah (not far from present-day Creston,.Iowa). Samuel stayed behind "where I took contracts that furnished numbers of my brethren with employment, which enabled them to procure means necessary to continue their journey further into the interior where the body of the church had gone."

At Mount Pisgah, things did not go well for Mary Ann and the children. The pioneer hardships and the lack of food, adequate clothing and medicine caused much misery not only for them but almost all of the saints gathered there. Though three year old Samuel Lorenzo was sturdy enough to fend off illness and the effects of continued exposure to the elements, his little sisters were not so fortunate. Lack of food sapped their already low energy reserves and they became desperately ill.

Samuel learned of his family's distress and took immediate action. He hurriedly loaded a wagon with supplies and hastened to their side. When he reached the camp he immediately turned over his wagon load of supplies to Lorenzo Snow to use as he thought best. Samuel then tried to help his wife minister to the dangerously ill twins. However, in spite of their efforts, the girls continued to fail. On September 19, 1846, little Sarah Ann died. Her sister Eliza Jane lasted another month and a half. Then, on November 4th, 1846 she too returned to the God who gave her. Both little girls are likely buried in the Pioneer cemetery at Mt. Pisgah.

This was a devastating time for Mary Ann and Samuel. They had now seen a total of six children come into their home. Two had been buried in England: their beloved Mary A. lay beneath the sod in Nauvoo; and now two more were laid to rest in unmarked graves on the Iowa plain. But they refused to surrender to sorrow: even though Mary Ann and Samuel Lorenzo were also very ill by the time the girls passed on, Samuel carefully nursed them back to health and then took his wife, his mother and his surviving son back to his camp to care for them there.

Samuel and his family were assigned to be part of the Saints who planted and nurtured crops for those who would come after. These crops were to be cultivated and harvested by the resident pioneers who then shared them with later trains of Latter-day Saints who came through their area.
Samuel had many rough experiences and narrow escapes from death during this time. Anti-Mormon mobs roamed the Iowa territory. On several occasions they swooped down on the small band of farmers, threatening to kill them.

One time, on the Fox River where they were temporarily stationed, the Smiths were confronted by a mob which had collected to tar and feather Samuel. He met this threat with vigor and by a mob which had collected to tar and feather Samuel. He met this threat with vigor and determination. He strode to the top of a mound of earth and turned to confront his enemies. "Renounce Mormonism!" they shouted, "and we'll not give ye a black coat and wings." Samuel did no such thing. Instead, he drew his pistol to defend himself. He then boldly told them that whoever came up that hill to tar and feather him would never live to finish the job. The look of grim determination on his face and the conviction in his voice saved him. After some mutterings and threats the mob retired, leaving him unmolested.

On October 31, 1847 young Samuel Lorenzo received a new baby brother. The new arrival was named Hyrum James and was made welcome by his brother and rejoicing parents.

For more than two years thereafter, the Smiths remained in Iowa. Then, in the spring of 1850 Samuel and his family enrolled in a company of which Aaron Johnson was elected captain, Daniel D. Hunt, Chaplain and Samuel himself clerk. There were about 100 wagons in the company and they started on their journey from the Missouri River westward.

When they reached Salt Creek, cholera broke out among the people. Many were prostrated by it, and in a few days 18 persons had died of that scourge; others recovered and for a time they thought the plague had left them. When they reached the Platte River, however, the sickness broke out again. "And here," testifies Samuel, "we witnessed some singular instances of healing by the power of God. one night I had a singular vision. I thought a man stood by me, and said to me: "You must stop here, clean out your wagons, wash yourselves, and all of you be rebaptized and then your sick shall recover and no more death or sickness shall come upon your company." I told my dream to the chaplain and the captain, and they each said they had seen and heard the same thing." After administering to the ailing Chaplain Hunt and then to his own wife, and seeing them instantaneously cured, Samuel continued his account. "After cleaning up, washing and baptisms, this sickness left us; we resumed our journey and reached Salt Lake City in health and safety, on the 5th of September, 1850." (Tullidge's Histories, p. 120)

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