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John Rigdon
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Lecture Written by John M. Rigdon on the Early History of the Mormon Church
[NOTE: Typescript copies are available at various Utah and Western libraries.]

I am the only living child of Sidney Rigdon, who died in the town of Friendship, Alle. Co., New York, the summer of 1876 [ this shows the date of composition to be post 1876 ]

When he came to Doublin we all started for Far West Colwell Co. Mo. We traveled together for a while and then seperated as it was difficult to get accomodations traveling together. J. Smith took one half of the party, my father the other. We agreet to meet at Iniana and we did meet there, and then seperated again. J. S. was to cross the Miss. River at Scunedy and were to cross the Miss. at Louizianna, 20 miles below; we left J. S. at a town called Parrish where we stayed over night. In the morning there was great snow storm. It would be called blizzard now. We had prarie to cross of about 10 mi. and were caucitioned not to attempt to cross it in such a storm. The people said the road was filled up with snow and we would be liable to get get lost and if we did be frozen to death. But my father thought differntly and thought we could get across without trouble. (We could see across) When we started we could see woods on the other side and we started, but we had not been out but a short time when storm was so great we could not see across the prarie and there was no road to be seen. Robinson took the lead and a man by the name of Darrow followed him in an open wagon. I and my brother were in the 3rd wagon. We had lost sight of Robinson and Darrow when one of the 4 wheels of the wagon I was in came off. It let us down in snow. While trying to fix the wheels on a man came up and told us to turn back if we did not we would freeze to death. So I was put in another wagon and we turned around and made way back to Parrish. When we got there inquiries were made where was Robinson and Darrow. It seemed they did not hear the order to turn back. Robinson had his covered carriage, his wife and my mother and my father's mother who was about 80 years old. I was so nearly frozen to death I could not walk. I had to be carried into the house and there thawed out. But it was getting dark and storm was at its height and none dared venture out on prarie in storm and Robinson and the women and Darrow had to be left to their fate. There was [p. 14] great excitement that night in the house where we stayed. In the morn the storm was over but was very cold but excitement was so great that we had to start to see if we could find the lost ones. We could see across the prarie but there was no road to be seen and we started and after about 2 hours we got across to the timber on the other side. There was a little house standing on the bank of a small stream and we went to inquire if any wagons had come there the day before and were overjoyed to learn that an open wagon and carriage had stopped to get warm but they had no accomodations to keep them over night they had gone to a house about 5 mi. from there and would probably find them. We made haste to the house and when got there found them well except Darrow whose ears were badly frozen. We stayed there that night and in the morn we all started again. We got out on prarie in Ill. when there was sickness and we had to stop and remained there for 3 weeks and it was happiest 3 weeks I ever spent. The man whom we stopped with had drawn up a large crop of corn in the shack near his house. The snow being deep the prarie chickens came in large flocks every morn and remained all day. It is said hunger will tame lion and so it will prarie chickens. After 3 weeks the weather moderated and the road became passable and the folks who were sick were well enough to travel. We started again for the Miss. river. We got opposite Luisanna just 2 days to it the raines had come and the ice on river had become too weak to cross it with teams or foot. So we had to remain there 10 days to wait for the ice to get out a steurn ferry boat boat caould come over to take us across. When we got on the Masairre there we found mud had got very deep. It was hard to travel with loaded wagons. After we had got within 125 miles our horses were tired out and we got to a Mr. Horricks house and there stayed 2 weeks waiting for horses to get rested and for mud to dry up and then started again and this time reached the long looked for promised land one bright morn in the month of april 1838. J. S. heard of us the night before, he having reached Far West about 3 weeks before we got there and was much pleased to learn that we would [p. 15] reach Far West next morn and was on the look out for us. He met us just as we were coming up unto village. He shooks hands with father and my mother with tears in eyes and thanked God we had got to journeys end. J. S. let us to Thomas Marsh who was then Pres. of the quorum of the twelve. This was on Sat. On Sun. they were going to have a meeting and S. R. was to preach. All the Mormons in Far West came to hear him. There was large school house out side village where meeting was to be held. There was not standing room. They took out windows weather being warm and got up into window spaces some had to remain outside. He preached for 2 hours. It was one of his great efforts. All things continued till 4th of July celebration. The village of Far West was built around a square. In the center they had dug a celler for temple. The corner stone laid 4th of July. My father was to deliver the oration. Colonel Hinckle had one company of uniform maltia we had a marshal band a bass drum and 2 small drums, a procession was formed to march coming first the uniform company of Malitia and then possession followed. We made quite a showing for a small town after marching around the sq. we came to cellar and halted. There was erected a stand to speak from J. S. and Hyrum Smith S. R. and several others took their places. When a benediction S. R. commenced his oration. The first half of his oration was a 4th of July oration pure and simple not a word was said that could offend the ear of anyone. The next half was devoted to the building that was to be errected. The lower floor was to be devoted for worship the upper story was to be for school. They were to be so arranged so that they could give any student who might come a collegiate education if he wished it and in closing up his remarks he made use of this language. "We have provided the world with kindness and have grown weary with well doing and if the Missourians shall attack us again we shall carry the war to these very door. This should not in my opinion have been said. It only excited the mind of the Mo. It was reprinted that he had threatened to commence a war of extermination against the Mo. but the little breeze that [p. 16] this remark occossioned soon wore off and all seemed to be well. In the fall of the year there was a man who was running for congress and he wanted Mormons to vote for him. There was a few of the Mormons who were legal voters and they went to the polls to vote. When they got there they found the Mo. outnumbered them nearly 2 to one. The Mo. said they were not voters and should not vote. The Mormons said they were voters and should vote and they got into a fight. The Mormons punched the heads of the Mo. quite badly and the Mo. ran for their guns and the Mormon voted and returned home. That commenced the fight and it never ended till the Mormons were driven from the state of Mo. Soon after that we began to hear of the Mo. driving some of the Mormons from their farms and stealing and driving off stock and insulting their wives and families and they obliged to send their families into town for protection. Soon it got so bad that the Mormons began to retaliate and sent out men and drove the Mo. off and compell them to let the Mormons alone. They often got into a fight with them and when ever they did the Mo. always ran. Things kept getting worse all the time. David Patten who used to be called by the Mormons as captain Fearless and he was rightly named for if there was ever a frave man he was one. One night late in the fall he heard of a gang of Mo. under Gen. Lucus that had been robbing some of the Mormons were in camp on what was called Crooked River a distance from Far West about 25 mi. he got up a company of Mormons and went after them. I was out of the square when they started. He Patten did not know where on the river he could find them. On his way out he ran across a young man about 18 years old by the name of Patrick O. Banyon who knew where he could find them and he compelled O. Banyon to go with them and show them the way. When he got in the vicinity the Mormons hitched their horses in a grove of trees near by and prepared to make attack on foot. When they got into an opening on the bank of the River one of the Mo. sentenals called out who comes there and without waiting for a reply quite a [p. 17] number of Mo. fired into the Mormons. David Patten fell shot through the body and Partrick O. Banion who stood beside him fell shot in the back and one Gideon Carter who was farther back fell shot through the neck. Then the Mo. ran and crossed the River and formed their company on the other side. There not being much water in the River at that time when they all commenced a hasty retreat, they left all of their horses and camp equipage and started to climb up a steep bank when Mormons fired a volley into them when one of their number came tumbling down the bank shot in the back dead. The rest got away when Pattent was shot. He said "Boys go ahead, never mind me." The Mormons crossed the River took their horse blankets clothing they left behind and took up the bodies of Pattent and Banyon and started for Far West did not know that Carter had been shot as it was dark. They got a few miles away when the pains of Pattent were so bad they had to stop to the house of a friend and leave him and they sent for his wife. She got there just before he died. When she came into the house he told her he was agoing to die but what ever she did not to deny the fact. In less than an hour he was dead. They brought young Patrick O. Banyon to my fathers house where he lingered in great agony for 2 days and then died. He was not a Mormon nor was his father or mother. They came and took the body away. The next day they brought David Pattens body and also that of Gideon Carters to Far West whom they found lying dead on the field. He was shot through the neck and the Mormons did not know he was hurt till the next morn after Pattens death and was at Pattents house when his body was brought there. I looked into the wagon box and there lay David Pattents body silent in death he lay on his back his lips tightly closed no indication of fear on his countenance and he was a brave man and we all deeply mourned his loss. The next day we buried both David Pattent and Gideon Carter in military order. J. S. and Hyrum Smith and S. R. rode at the head of procession on horse back. Then came Marshal Band and after that the bodies of [p. 18] David Pattent and Gideon Carters and then quite a little procession followed. After we took out to a little burying ground just outside of the village and there we buried them. 

 

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