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Drusilla Hendricks
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Historical Sketch of James Hendricks and Drusilla Dorris Hendricks

The summer passed until August without any trouble; we had had just three years of peace but the first of August our trouble began over the election. My husband had to stand guard for three months as the mob would gather on the outside settlements. The brethren had to be ready and on hand at the sounding of a bass drum. At three taps on the drum my husband would be on his horse in a moment, be it night or day while I and my children were left to weep for that is what we did, at such times. I was willing for him to go as I always was until he fell in defense of the kingdom of God. Our crops were nearly destroyed while he was on duty, but I gathered in all I could in his absence.

This scene of things continued until Oct. 24, 1838 when the mob gathered on the south of us and sent out the word that they would burn everything they came to and that they already had two of our brethren as prisoners and the prairies were black with smoke. Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, with others of the brethren, came along going upon the high places to try and discover, if possible, what was going on. They came back by the door of our house and stopped for a moment. They thought the mob was burning the grass and outer houses to scare the inhabitants to make them flee so they could rob and plunder them of what they had. We had no chance of taking care of our vegetables so my husband said that we had better make the cabbage into kraut, so we went to work and finished it at 10 o'clock that night. He asked if I would go with him to get a stone to weight the kraut. I walked behind him and watched his form for he always stood erect. The thought came to me that I might never see him so straight and erect again. He got the stone and I still walked behind him watching his form with those same thoughts and feelings on my heart and mind, (that I might never see him like that again). I couldn't tell my feelings if I should try, but I said nothing. We had prayer and went to bed and fell asleep. I dreamed that something had befalled him and I was gathering him in my arms when Bro. C. C. Rich called at the door for him and told him what he wanted.

They had word that the mob was on Crooked River ten miles south of us and was a strong band. He said they had two of our brethren as prisoners and were doing all the damage that lay in their power. I got up and lit a fire for it was cold, while he brought his horse to the door. I thought he was slower than usual. He told me where they were to meet. I got his overcoat and put his pistols in the pockets, then got his sword and belted it on him. He bid me goodnight and got on his horse and I took his gun from the rack and handed it to him and said, "Don't get shot in the back." I had got used to his going so went to bed and went to sleep. Just about the time he was shot I was aroused from my sleep suddenly and I thought the yard was full of men and they were shooting. I was on my feet before I knew what I was doing. I went to the window at the back of the house but all was still. I was afraid to open the door. I could hear nothing so I ventured to open the door. It was getting light enough so I could see a very little. I went out and around the house and found there was no one there. Then I was worse scared than ever for I thought it was a token to me that they had had a battle. I got the children up and walked the floor and watched the road. I tried to work but could not. I tried to keep still but could not. Finally I saw Bro. Emit coming through the timber. I watched and saw that he did not stop at home but he hollered something about Bro. Hendricks. I could not tell what it was but he was on express to Farwest.

The children soon came over and told me that their father said that Bro. Hendricks was shot. Then I went to the field to give vent to my feelings and while there I saw a man pass through the field on horseback, it looked like he had a great roll of blankets; I went back to the house and found the children all crying. I went to the loom to try and weave to let on to them that I did not believe the report about their father. I could not weave at all; but had not sat there but a few moments when I saw a Mr. T. Snider (he did not belong to the church, but a good man) get off his horse at the gate. (I saw him wipe his eyes, I knew that he was crying.) He came to the door and said, Mr. Hendricks wishes you to come to him. I asked where. He said to the widow Medcalf's and that he had come for me. I asked where and how he was shot and he thought he was shot in the hip.

There was a woman in the house that I had taken care of for weeks. I told her to do the best she could with the children and I mounted the horse behind Mr. Snider. We had four miles to ride and on reaching there we met nine of the brethren that were wounded and they were pale as death. They were just going to get into the wagon to be taken to their homes. I went into the house. Sister Patten had just reached the bed where her husband lay and I heard him say, "Ann don't weep. I have kept the faith and my work is done." My husband lay within three feet of Brother Patten, and I spoke to him. He could speak but could not move any more than if he were dead. I tried to get him to move his feet but he could not. This was Thursday, October 25, 1838, and the next Tuesday was the Battle of Hauns Mill where men and boys were slaughtered and thrown into a dry well 18 or 48 in number, out of which only one (Benjamin Lewis) received a decent burial.

There were three beds in the room where my husband lay - he in one, Brother David Patten in one, and Brother Hodge in the other. Brother Hodge was the one shot in the hip. Brother Obanyon was on the floor begging for a bed and some of the sisters ran and got him one. My husband was shot in the neck where it cut off all feeling of the body. It is of no use for me to try and tell how I felt for that is impossible, but I could not have shed a tear if all had been dead before me. I went to work to try and get my husband warm but could not. I rubbed and steamed him but could get no circulation. He was dead from his neck down.

One of the brethren told me how he fell for he was close to him. After he had fallen one of the brethren asked him which side he was on (for it was not yet light enough to see) and all the answer he made was the watch word "God and Liberty". On hearing this it melted me to tears and I felt better. Then I was told how many of the brethren were wounded and who they were and was shown the weapons used and they bore blood from hilt to point. It makes me chill to think of it.

We stayed here until almost night when one of our neighbors, Brother Winchester and wife, came with a wagon and bed in it and took us to Farwest. The brethren told me if I took him home that the mob would kill him before my eyes. I left my children in care of the man and his wife that I had been taking care of for two months, who had been suffering with fever and ague. But when the army came in they ran and left everything so the children had to go to the neighbors. But a Brother Stanley and wife (who came from the East the day before the battle) gathered up my children and went and stayed with them and took care of things, for which kindness I shall always feel grateful.

We were compelled to stay at Farwest until after the surrender when we went home. The mob had robbed the house of my bedding and in fact everything but my beds. My husband could not yet move hand or foot. Then we had to settle our business matters and fix to get out of the State. I went to work and sold what I could and gave our land for money to buy two yoke of cattle. Finally we had to leave everything only what we could put into a little wagon.

About the middle of January, Father Joseph Smith and Father Morley, with five or six others, came and anointed and administered to my husband. They stood him on his feet and he stood by them holding to each arm. He began to work his shoulders. I continued to rub him with strong vinegar and salt and liniments. The brethren were leaving the State as fast as they could. We did not know how we could go until Brother I. Leaney, who was shot and wounded at Hauns Mill, came to see us and said we should not be left behind. He had been shot through and through from both sides, the balls passing through the lungs, but he was miraculously healed. He had twenty seven bullet holes in his shirt. I counted them myself. He only had eleven wounds to be dressed.

The enemy were still on the alert. One night they were hunting the Danites about 9 o'clock. It was very dark, the dog barked as if he was mad. I sat on the side of the bed where my husband lay. I was watching him and nursing my baby. My oldest son, William, said "Mother, the mob is coming". They were swearing at the dog. We had the door fastened; they told us to open the door or they would break it down. I asked who they were. They damned me and said it was none of my business and if I did not open the door they would break it down in one minute so I told the children to open the door. I had a girl staying with us. She and the children were like a flock of chickens when they see a hawk flying around them. These men had false whiskers until they looked awful. One had a large Bowie knife in one hand and a pistol in the other. They came to the bed and told me to get up. I simply told them I was watching him before they came. They took the candle from the table and turned down the bed clothes and asked what Doctor I had. I told them I had none. They then asked me a great many questions. They told me they wanted to search the house so one gave his pistol to another and took the candle. He told me to get up as he wanted to look under my bed. I moved a very trifle higher upon the bed for I thought of a dream which I had about three months before he was shot. I dreamed that he lay on the bed sick and was almost gone and two men came in to kill him. I told them they would have to kill me first. I thought they could not get me away from him; then they let him alone. But the men I saw in my dream and these of this mob looked as much alike as can be, so I was determined I would not leave him.

They looked under my bed and said they were looking for Winchester. I told them to go to Illinois if they wanted to find him. They said his wife had been telling them that lie, but they did not believe it, so I told them when he started. After hunting under the beds and at the back of the house they must go upstairs. I told him where the children got up so he got up but said there was nothing there but meat. I had my meat up there to use on our journey. They finally concluded that Winchester was not there so they came a second time to my husband's bed and turned the clothes down below his breast. I sat still on the side of the bed for I was determined I would not leave him. They made him talk but he was so weak and pale he looked more like he was dead than alive. They turned around and asked me for water. I told them there was the pail and cup by it, that I would not get up. They drank. I had wood in for the night. They sat down by the wood and put powder in their pistols. One said all is ready. Each man put his finger on the trigger of his pistol and said let us walk. I expected when they got back of the curtain they would fire at his head as he was bolstered up, but they stood about one minute and then went out. The mob had often sent me word that they were coming to help the Lord off with him. So I thought they had come for that purpose but I acknowledged the hand of the Lord in it.

Then the Doctor came and wanted to take his case in hand. He said the Doctor was on the side of the mob and he knew he could do him good. He wanted to lift the bone in his neck that pressed the spinal marrow. He came a time or two but I could not engage him. Then he said he would give me a receipt to make a liniment to rub him with to open the pores of the skin. He also gave me some things to put in the liniment. By this time my husband had got so he could stand on his feet without helping him to get on them.

Brother Lainey had secured one yoke of cattle as we thought one yoke would haul all we could get in one wagon that we had. We could then save the money we had to buy our bread and clothing.


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Last modified: March 19, 2006