Some of My Ancestors – By My Dad
When I gave my talk today, I asked everyone who were converts or decendents of converts to raise their hands. I had borrowed the 1st Edition of the Book of Mormon from a distant cousin that Joseph Smith gave to your Great-Great-Great Grandfather George Deliverance
|George Deliverance Wilson|
Wilson in 1831, one year after the Church was organized. The prophet wrote a note to him on the Title Page of the book. (Collectors value a 1st Edition of the BofM at over $100,000, but I think that book is priceless.) I held it up in front of the congregation….that this was the book that converted our family. And that everyone has THEIR OWN first edition of the Book of Mormon that converts them, and that that book should mean just as much to their descendents as it does to them. (George Deliverance Wilson had consumption, now called tuberculosis, and had heard that a man named Joseph Smith could heal him, so he traveled – mostly walked – 1,000 miles to meet him in Kirtland, OH.
Joseph told him to read the book first. He instantly knew it was true, was healed, and lived 50 more years, was one of the 500 men that heeded Brigham Young’s call for volunteers to serve in the Mormon Battalion, and died and was buried in Hillsdale, UT on Hwy. 89 in the 1880s.)
Later, in 1838, Philandra Merrick, had had her husband shot and killed at Haun’s Mill, and her son mortally wounded, and he died a month later. The mob stole the $700 he had in his pocket that they got for selling their home in Missouri, so she was left penniless. She made it to Nauvoo with the help of Brigham Young, and Joseph Smith took her family in to live in the Nauvoo House with his family, where she lived for several years doing sewing. She was there with Emma during the 6 months Joseph was in Liberty Jail (D&C Sections 121 & 122.) In August, 1842, Emma came to her room and told her to put things away and to come down stairs because Joseph was going to organize the ladies of the Church into their own organization. There was just as small group of ladies that were in the room that day, Charter Members of the Relief Society. In 1846 she remarried in the Nauvoo Temple and came into our family, and had 2 sons that rode with the Pony Express, so they would have worked under the supervision of Major Howard Egan, your Great-Great-Great Grandfather on your mother’s side, who was one of 143 men and 3 women that came into the Salt Lake Valley with Brigham Young on July 24, 1847. So, your ancestors knew each other from both sides of your family, and they were all well acquainted with the prophets Joseph and Brigham. This is something of your ancestors.
George Deliverance Wilson built saw-mills, and so when Brigham was sending out people to colonize a new town, he would send those that built saw-mills first. So it was that George D. moved to found and settle 17 different times. The story is told that after many years of this, on one occasion the received word to move to a new location and his wife told him she had her home and she wasn’t coming. As he went back and forth from the house to the wagon without saying a word loading up goods, she followed along beside him, telling him she wasn’t coming. Finally, when everything was all loaded aboard, she came running out of the house hollerin “Wait for me George, Wait for me.”
I suppose you know of your ancestor Joel Hills Johnson, who wrote “High on a Mountain Top,” and founded Johnson’s Fort (now Enoch, UT). He was on the Cedar City Stake High Council and became aware of the plans for the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and rode hard to prevent it, arriving too late, but was later one of the key witnesses in the trial of Bishop John Lee, who was executed. His brother was Lyman Johnson, who participated in the 1,000 mile march of Zion’s Camp in 1835, and one of the first Quorum of the Twelve called by Joseph Smith. So, it was a small world back in those days, with many faithful Saints.
I guess such it was for the pioneers–illness, mobs, forced to move, the sufferings of the Battalion, settling in harsh conditions—-that movie Legacy tells the story of your own ancestors much more than you think. They were there for all of that. Some years ago I read the journal of George Deliverance Wilson describing the sufferings and starvation they went through while with the Mormon Battalion. Just reading it was so depressing and discouraging, day-after-day, page-after-page of the same graphic depressing notations, that I finally quit reading it. I know that sounds wimpy, that I can’t even read for a few hours what he actually endured for days and weeks and months. I think that sometimes we glamorize their sufferings and sacrifices, until we read about how truly real and truly pitiful it was. I am amazed that they were able to keep their faith after what they went through.