Lorenzo Dow Young's Narrative
Four Faith Promoting Classics, Fragments of Experience, p.49 - 52
This was in October, 1838. I remained in Far West doing whatever was necessary for the protection of the Saints. I was on guard much of the time.
Major Seymour Brunson directed Brother A. P. Rockwood and myself to take our horses and go out two miles north of Far West and patrol the country every night. If we saw a man, or company of men coming towards Far West, we were [p.50] ordered to hail them and demand the countersign. If necessary, to make this demand the second time, when, if not given, we were to fire on them. When we arrived on the ground where we were to perform our duties, Brother Rockwood and I separated, taking different directions. It was a moonlight night. I was on the edge of a prairie with my eye along the road, when I discovered a company of mounted men coming over a swell of the prairie. I retired into the timber and took a station behind the trunk of a large tree, under the shadow of its branches, and twenty or thirty yards from the road. As the company came opposite to me, I demanded the countersign twice, as I had been ordered to do. As they paid no attention to me, I made ready to fire, intending to shoot the leader, when a strong and sudden impression came over me to hail again. I did so, and ordered them to halt. This time the leader recognized my voice, and, turning towards me, asked: "Is that you, Brother Lorenzo?" I also recognized the man as Brother Lyman Wight, and, as I answered in the affirmative, rode up to his side. We were glad to meet each other, and I was very thankful that I had not obeyed orders. He was on his way from Diamond to Far West, with a company of men to assist the Saints there.
Soon after this occurrence, I returned to Far West. I told Sister Young that I hoped to get one good night's sleep. For three weeks I had not had my clothes off to lay down, and I felt much worn.
Perhaps I had slept two hours, when I was awakened by the bass drum sounding an alarm on the public square. I was soon out to see what was the matter. There were five men on the square, of whom I inquired the cause of the alarm. They informed me that, two of the brethren had been taken prisoners by the mob on Crooked River, tried by a court martial that day, and condemned to be shot the coming morning at eight o'clock. A company of men was wanted to go and rescue them.
Preparations were soon made, and in a short time, about 40 mounted men, under the command of David W. Patten, were ready to start. We kept the road to a ford on Crooked River, twenty miles distant, where we expected to find the mob.[p.51] Just as the day was breaking we dismounted, about a mile from the ford, tied our horses, and left Brother Isaac Decker to watch them.
We marched down the road some distance, when we heard the crack of a rifle. Brother Obanion, who was one step in advance of me fell. I assisted brother John P. Green, who was the captain of the platoon I belonged to, to carry him to the side of the road. We asked the Lord to preserve his life, laid him down, ran on and took our places again.
The man who shot Brother Obanion was a picket guard of the mob, who was secreted in ambush by the roadside. Captain Patten was ahead of the company.
As we neared the river the firing was somewhat lively. Captain Patten turned to the left off the road, with a part of the command; Captain Green and others turned to the right.
We were ordered to charge, which we did, to the bank of the river, when the enemy broke and fled.
I snapped my gun twice at a man in a white blanket coat. While engaged in repriming my gun, he got out of range.
A tall, powerful, Missourian sprang from under the bank of the river, and, with a heavy sword in hand, rushed towards one of the brethren, crying out, "Run, you devils, or die!"
The man he was making for was also armed with a sword, but was small and poorly calculated to withstand the heavy blows of the Missourian. He, however, succeeded in defending himself until I ran to his aid, and leveled my gun within two feet of his enemy, but it missed fire.
The Missourian turned on me. With nothing but the muzzle end of my rifle to parry his rapid blows, my situation was perilous. The man whom I had relieved, for some reason, did not come to the rescue. I succeeded in parrying the blows of my enemy until he backed me to the bank of the river. I could back no farther without going off the perpendicular bank, eight or ten feet above the water. In a moment I realized that my chances were very desperate. At this juncture the Missourian raised his sword, apparently throwing all his strength and energy into the act, as if intending to crush me with one desperate blow.
As his arm extended I saw a hand pass down the back of [p.52] his head and between his shoulders. There was no other person visible, and I have always believed that I saw the hand of the angel of the Lord interposed for my deliverance. The arm of my enemy was paralyzed, and I had time to extricate myself from the perilous situation I was in.
As soon as I had time to think, I felt that the inspiration of my mother's promise had been again verified. The appearance of the hand, to me, was real. I do not see how I could have been saved in the way I was, without a providential interference.
As soon as I was out of danger, my attention was drawn to brother David W. Patten, who lay on the ground a short distance from me, mortally wounded. We hitched a pair of horses to a wagon, put brother Patten and six other wounded men into it, and started for Far West.
A few miles from the battle ground we met the Prophet Joseph, with a carriage and a company of horsemen. The wounded were taken to their homes, and such care given them as circumstances would allow.