Pioneers of 1850
Thomas Johnson Co.Edmond Nelson married to Jane Taylor Parents of Price Williams Nelson married to Lydia Ann Lake Parents of Samantha Nelson married to Warren Marshall Johnson Parents of Samantha Johnson married to Richard Carl Neves Parents of Lucy Alice Neves
Edmund Nelson was the son of Thomas B. Nelson and Martha Williams, and was born in Mt. Vernon, North Carolina, on the 12th of December, 1799.
He married Jane Taylor of Mt. Vernon, Jefferson County, Illinois, in 1828.
Jane was born on the 1st of January, 1807, in Mt. Vernon, Jefferson Co. Illinois, and was the daughter of Thomas Bilington Taylor, and Martha Mardgelon of Jefferson County, Illinois.
Seven children were born to them. They were:
They were early converts to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and came to Utah with the Saints in 1850 with the Thomas Johnson Co., arriving in September.
They made their home in Alpine, Utah, where Edmund died that same year on the 13th of December. His wife died in Franklin, Idaho.
Edmond Nelson was the fourths son of Thomas Nelson and Martha Williams. he was born in Orange County, North Carolina in 12 December 1799. He was still very young when his family moved west from North Carolina. Thomas Nelson sold his property to William Edwards on the 10 of March 1802- this was the old Nelson home that he had purchased from his father, Abraham Nelson a few years before his death. He loved his father dearly, and when he sold the old home he reserved a small section where his parents were buried, never to be sold. Later many other people were buried there.
Thomas Nelson Junior the youngest son of Thomas and Martha was born July 2, 1802 in Orange Co. It was shortly after this date that Thomas and Martha with their five sons went to Tennessee, where Martha was born in Bedford, Co. About 1816 they moved to Monroe County, Illinois- in 1823 they moved to Jefferson County, Illinois and lived near the county seat of Mount Vernon. (Above summary by Mansel H. Nelson) The following life of Edmond Nelson is recorded as told to Taylor Nelson by William Goforth Nelson, son of Edmond Nelson.)
My father was a farmer and a stock raiser by occupation. The family lived in Jefferson County about nineteen years. I can remember witnessing my father’s baptism about the year 1836- an Elder by the name of Burquett officiated. My mother was not baptized until the year 1838.
In the spring of 1836 my father sold his home in Illinois and his livestock, with the exception of five head of horses, and started, together with the church, to Missouri. My father and his three brothers: James, Abraham and Hyrum, and their families also went. The four brothers located within two miles of each other. James and Hyrum located on the west bank of the Grand river; Abraham bought a ferry right, and one flat boat, and one canoe, on the Grand river one mile below. My father filed on a quarter of section of land one mile from the river. he then bought quite a number of stock and hogs. it was while we lived here that the Prophet ;Joseph Smith stayed overnight with us. That was the first time any of us had ever seen him.
we lived there on year and a half when in the fall of 1838 a general conference of the Church was held at Far West, Missouri. My father was on that attended. The Prophet counseled the Saints to gather there at Far West, Missouri, forthwith. My father was the only one of the four brothers to immediately comply with the counsel of the Prophet. He started at sunrise the next morning after getting home; taking a wagon in which his family could ride comfortably. He took five horses, one yoke of oxen, three cows, and a small bunch of sheep. He left 34 head of cattle and fifty head of hogs in the woods. His brothers were so slow to comply with the word of the Prophet and the mob robbed them of nearly all their property. They took possession of Abraham’s ferry and charged him for crossing on it when he started to Far West.
Our first days travel was through thinly settled country- we often saw, in a distance, the smoke raising from burning houses and we frequently saw members of the mob riding through the fields on horseback, but we were not molested by any of them. At night we camped with a family whose house was then burning, having been set on fire by the mob. My father helped the man, whose name I do not remember, to build a rack to take to the place of his wagon box which also burned. The man traveled with us one day and then went on another road so as to travel with some of his relatives.
on the third day my father sold one horse for $30.00 and loaned the oxen to another man to drive. I do not remember how many days we were on the road to Far West, but it was not many. When we reached Grand river, my mother was baptized my Lyman Wight. Far West was soon packed with people, so that before we reached there instructions had been given for the rest of the saints to camp at Shoel Creek, two miles from Far West, so we remained there for the winter. All who camped there lived in their own wagons and tents. I do not know of one house being built.
It was during this winter that the saints were called upon by the governor of Missouri to deliver up their arms which request was complied with. My father and oldest brother being among those who delivered their guns to members of the mob. The mob was on horseback- the men all had painted faces. The next coming there were three light wagons, each pulled by two large horses. Our brethren were commanded to follow in behind the wagons. The next company of the mob came in behind our wagons. They stopped in a little prairie about a mile below, and our brothers were ordered to lay their guns and ammunition in the wagons. Then the third party came up, half of the men dismounted, leaving two horses and two guns with one man and then the footmen started to plunder the wagons in the camp, claiming that they were hunting for ammunition. Our people had their horses and cattle all tied up because they had no other place for them and thus were our wagons searched and much property stolen by the mob.
It was while we camped on Shoel Creek that Joseph Smith Nelson was born. My eldest brother Price was sick nearly all winter. My father could not find employment of any kind by which to help secure a living so that our food during the eventful winter consisted entirely of beef and boiled corn. On December 6th, father, in company with sixty of the brethren were taken prisoners by General John E Clark and were held for two days. They were released by a Court of Inquiry held in Far West under the direction of Judge Adam Black.
In the early spring of 1839 we started for Quincey, the place which had been designated by the Prophet Joseph for the Saints to cross the Mississippi River. But before we reached there we were compelled to stop on account of the sickness of Price and myself. Father rented a house in which we lived until we had regained sufficient strength to continue on our journey. We crossed the river at Quincey and then started north. But we traveled very slowly, it being spring and the rainy season of the year. We rented a house about 30 miles east of Commerce, (afterwards called Nauvoo). Father helped a man fence a piece of land and then got the privilege of planting six acres of corn which yielded an abundant crop.
Late in the fall father and Price went to Nauvoo and built a 2 room log house but we did not move to Nauvoo until early the next spring (1840). Father bought a lot and a half in Nauvoo which ran east and west. The house referred to was built on the west end of the plot. We opened a rock quarry on the west end. Hyrum and I helped father quarry rock, most of which we sold in the city. Father paid his temple work and most of his tithing in rock from the quarry, all of which was used in the temple. We also rafted a great deal of wood and saw timber down the river. We at one time went eighteen miles up the river, after a raft of saw timber which we sold to a man by the name of Ellis for three dollars per thousand feet. He ran a sawmill on the bank of the river. Hyrum and I spent one summer in Nauvoo working the brick yard, making brick which was used in building the Nauvoo House. We remained in Nauvoo until the first day of May 1846, at which time we started west with the church. During the six years we lived in Nauvoo I had the privilege of almost daily seeing some of the leaders of the church. I was personally acquainted with Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, President William Marks, Wilson and William Law, Chancy Higly, John C. Bennett, and other leaders of the church at that time. I have upon different occasions heard all of these men speak to the people in meetings, the Prophet more especially. I well remember many of his sayings, many of which are now on record in the church. But one which I will mention here is, “I will give you a key that never will rust if you will stay with the majority of the twelve apostles and the records of the church, you will never be led astray.”
I was also one of the hundreds who saw the prophet and the Patriarch after they were martyred and the circumstances as they were brought from Carthage and prepared for burial. They were placed in the west room of the Prophets house, which was a two roomed building and was long ways east and west. The people came in the lot at the west gate, then in the west end of the house, viewed the remains of the Martyrs which lay to the right of the first door, they passed to the next room and out the south door, and out the south gate into the street.
There were three natural water courses that drain Nauvoo and the surrounding country. One of these runs about one and a half miles south of the city and empties into the Mississippi about three miles below, near the Casto farm. It headed in what was called the “Big Field”, east of the city. The next one of these drains emptied into the river a little ways from Nauvoo, which was built on the north bank. A little ways north of the Nauvoo House headed a few hundred yards of the temple block, in the head of which was an oak grove where the Saints held many conferences and other public and church gatherings. The next one headed nine miles east of the city nearly due north of Carthage near what was known as the Little Mound, it passes just north of the temple block and turning north emptied into the river just above what was known as the Upper Stone House. This was a building erected during the days of Commerce and was a soldiers quarters during the Indian trouble. The Mississippi runs in a bowing shape, encircling the city on the north-west and partly on the south. Just below where the main street runs into the river on the west there are some shoels over which but little water runs during the high water season. The main street runs west a short distance and then turning gradually southeast until it passes a little east of the main part of the city and then almost due south.
On May 1, 846, father’s family, excepting Price and Hyrum, who remained to work on the steam boat, started west with the Saints. We started with two wagons, one which had no tires on the wheels. It was drawn by four cows and two two-year old steers, the other by two ponies. We led one cow behind the wagons. We crossed the Mississippi during the first day’s travel from home just above the shoels at the main crossing. On the third day father traded the ponies for a yoke of oxen. We traveled on the main road leading to Council Bluffs. We crossed Des Moins River on the fifth day of travel and camped for the night about four miles from the river. Late that evening the oxen we had traded for started to run back. I got on the pony and started after them. They ran a mile or more along the road and then went into the woods to the north of the road. I finally got them hemmed up and kept them hemmed in by the tree until morning which I finally decided to do. The one ox, which had a bell, had lost it and the wind blowing from the south made it quite impossible for any of my folks to hear me holler from the road. The prairie wolves were howling in the woods so near me that I thought the safest thing for me to do was to sit on the pony all the time. I partly consoled myself by thinking the wolves would take the little colt which was following before they would me. I had lost my hat during the rain and had got one of the stitches broken loose on my leg which had been taken when I cut my foot some time before. This caused it to bleed freely until I could get it bound up the next day. It continued raining all night accompanied by heavy thundering and lightning which helped to make my already miserable condition worse. But morning found me alive and able to get the cattle back to camp. My father had been hunting for me a good share for the night.
The Saints had been counseled to camp and remain at least one summer any time after crossing a small stream called White Breast. Just after we crossed this stream we found a camp of the Saints south of the road called Garden Grove, and another on the north of the road called Lost Camp. We continued on our journey until we reached Mt. Pisgah, on the Grand River.
We lived there for about four years. As soon as we camped we plowed some ground and planted three and one half acres in corn, and one-half acre of buck wheat and a good garden. Shortly after locating there Father and most of the children took sick with the chills and fever, and did not recover until September. During the month of July, I was bitten by a rattlesnake on my heel, but was only laid up for about ten days. Late in the fall of the same year I was bit by a dog on my right leg just below where it had been cut with the foot-ads spoken of above. I got along pretty well for about two weeks at which time Father and Mr. Mansfield went hunting. While they were away the children were playing near the house when a small tree fell. A limb hit my brother, Mark who was then about two years old and broke his skull. Father was sent for and got home in about forty-eight hours after the accident. All was done for him that could be, but he was left cripple for the rest of his life, his right side being paralyzed. It was about one year before he could walk at all.
During the next three years that we lived at Mt. Pisgah I worked away from home about two and a half years. The first three months I earned twenty five cents a day, and the balance of the time I averaged fifty cents a day. The greater part of my work was chopping timber and splitting rails while I worked on a ferry on the Des Moines River for about two months. All my wage went to the support of the family.
It was on the 8th day of May, 1850, that we started from Mt. Pisgah to Council Bluffs; thence across the plains to Salt Lake Valley. We started with two good wagons and good ox teams. We also had a number of cows. We traveled pretty much alone until we had come four miles west of Council Bluffs, where we found a camp of saints. On June 4th the camp was organized with Thomas Johnson as captain, ready to start on our journey west the next day. There were fifty wagons in the company. My brother, Price, met us at Council Bluffs and came to the valley with us while Hyrum came in another company the same year.
Our journey was quite a pleasant one. We had good luck. There was no Indian trouble at all, and only three deaths occurred in our company on the trip. The first one of these was a woman, the wife of a man named Wilkinson. She was buried on the west bank of the mouth of the Ash Hollow. The next was my cousin, Dr. Thomas Goforth. He was buried a little east of Chimney Rock. (Note: Dr. Thomas Goforth was the son of Martha Nelson Goforth, sister of Edmond Nelson). The next, a few days later, was a Brother Borum’s little child. Melvin Ross and I dug the grave buried it. These persons were buried in graves made with a vault in the bottom, the bodies were wrapped in a blanket or wagon cover, and placed in the grave and then timbers were cut across, and then straw, and ten filled with dirt.