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SANFORD PORTER_ SR._ AUTOBIOGRAPHY _History of Sanford Powered By Docstoc

(History of Sanford Porter, Sr., who was the son of Nathan, who
was the son of John, b. 7 Mar 1790 at So. Brimfield, Hampden, MA).
  My mother's maiden name was Susannah West.    Her father's name
was Thomas West.   My father raised seven children by his first
wife, Hannah Witter,--Nathan, John, Phineas, Fanny, Polly, Desire
and Rebecca.

My mother, Nancy Warriner, father's second wife, had four
children. Joseph was the eldest, then Susanna, myself and Sally.
 Our family moved to the state of Vermont when I was almost four
years old, where my grandfather, Thomas West, lived. He had got
to be old, and wanted father and mother to come and take charge of
his farm and take care of him. He belonged to the Baptist society
and had been a preacher in that church for more than thirty years.

My father lived until he was nearly seventy years old and died
very suddenly. He went out one morning to the blacksmith shop to
get some work done. He started home, got but a few rods from the
shop and fell. There were some men in the shop who saw him fall
and seeing that he did not get up, they ran to see what the matter
was. He had fallen face down. As they turned him over he made
one gasp and was gone. The snow was about a foot deep, but there
was no sign of his having stirred either hand or foot after he
fell. He had been troubled a good deal with rheumatism ever since
I can remember.    Both night and day he suffered, filled with
groans he did not utter. Besides the rheumatic pains in his back
and hip, he had one leg with running sores. He said they told him
that witchcraft caused it, but he was driving a yoke of oxen one
time with a heavy load of lumber, and going down a steep hill, his
oxen took a scare at something, and in trying to stop them they
knocked him down and one wheel ran over his leg and jammed it very
bad, which was the cause of his running sore. He was almost blind
for many years before he died; so much so that he could not tell
one person from another except by their voices. His hearing was
very keen, and his memory very good. If he heard a person speak
but a few words he would always know them if they spoke, no matter
how long it had been since he heard them speak.     He could also
rehearse the scriptures. He would have us children read the Bible
to him, and he would keep it in his mind even so he could quote
chapter and verse and where to find it.

He did not belong to any society of professed Christians.     He
went to the Baptist meetings quite often, but to no other that I
know of. He told them they did not practice the doctrines Christ
taught His Apostles.   "Go ye into all the world and preach the
gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall
be saved, and he that believes not shall be damned.    And these
signs shall follow them that believe. They shall heal the sick,
cause the blind to see, the deaf to hear, cast out devils, etc.,
etc." He would tell them he had never seen nor heard of any of
the professed Christian churches that those signs followed. They
had all gone astray; there were none of them right.      They had
transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, and broken the
everlasting covenant. He would sometimes chastise them for this
in their public meetings, and prove it from their own scriptures.
 The Baptists could not fellowship him, nor he them.

My father's brother, Samuel lived in Oneida County, New York,
about six miles south of the Vernon Glass Works. I lived in the
same neighborhood 7 or 8 years and was well acquainted with all of
his sons. He had six sons: John, Reuben, Levi, Nathan, Cyrus, and
William. He also had 2 girls: Lucy and Cloie, both old maids.

When I first saw Uncle Samuel he was so blind he could not even
see daylight. The folks told him whose son I was and he came and
grabbed me by the hand and squeezed it and shook it, and said, "Oh
how glad I am to see you!    Is brother Nathan still living? Are
your folks alive and well?"

We lived about 250 miles away from Uncle, away beyond the Green
Mountains in the state of Vermont. Uncle and his family settled
in Oneida County, New York, when it was a wilderness country, all
covered with heavy timber. Uncle was a tailor by trade, and all
day long he would work at his trade, much of the time by the fire
in the grate. He would both make and mend clothes for men, and
for his pay he would have those men chop down trees and cut them
so he and his children could handle them. These logs were used
for firewood.   He thought his blindness was caused by sewing so
much at night with such poor light. He and his wife both died on
this farm.

I have given a scattering account of some of my kindred, and now I
will write something respecting my own experiences. I was raised
from the time I was four years old in the township of Vershire,
Orange, VT, on the same old farm where Grandfather West lived and
died. When I was seven or eight years old I was in the barn where
father was husking corn. When the corn was picked, it was piled
up against the hay mow, and he threw the husks back toward the
stable. There were two doors in the barn, one to the north, and
one to the south. Father had a stack of husks about five or six
feet high. As I stood there watching father, I saw Beverly Yates
come in at the south door and go out at the north door. I called
out, "There goes Beverly Yates." Father sort of twisted around in
his chair and said, "Where goes Beverly Yates?" I said, "He came
in at the south door and went out at the north door."         Said
father, "What! You rascal! What are you telling me that lie for?
How could he get over that pile of husks and I not hear him?" At
that I ran to the north door and around the barn, but I could see
nothing of him. The barn stood in an open meadow, with no fence
within a hundred rods or more, and there was no place he could
hide. I went back into the barn, and father said, "Well, did you
see anything of him?" "No sir, I can't see a sign of him
anywhere." "No. You were lying. You didn't see him go through
the barn. I have a good will to give you a sound thrashing. I'll
learn you better than to tell such lies as that."

I was so scared and so grieved to the heart that I went to the
house weeping and sobbing. I did not know what to think of it.
Said mother, "What is the matter, son?" I told her and I said, "I
have told the truth. I knew him just as well as I ever did. His
hair was all fuzzled up just like it always is. He wore neither
hat nor cap; had on the same clothes he wears every day; and I
know I am not mistaken." "Well, stop crying. I will talk to your
father about it." Father came in and started scolding again, but
mother said, "Don't scold him anymore. I believe he has told the
truth.   Something may have happened to Beverly; we may hear
something by morning."     And sure enough, as we sat at our
breakfast, news cane that Beverly had been killed by a horse.

But how could it have happened? I only know it did, and father
believed me then. Beverly and I were the only boys that had the
opportunity of playing together. He was some older and a little
larger than me, but we were good playmates. But why in the world
should his spirit appear to me? How could it be and why should it
be? Not only did I puzzle over this, but all the neighborhood was
talking about it; some for; some against. None could tell why.

When I was 8 years old my half-brother, Nathan, came to make us a
visit. He lived in the state of Connecticut, about 160 miles away
from our home, and it had been many years since he had seen his
father, and mine, having left us when we lived in old Brimfield.
He went in search of his fortune, and came to let us know he had
not found it. He persuaded father and mother to let me go back
with them and stay until I was of age, for he had not a son of his
own, and that I could help to do light chores night and morning.
He said I could go to school most of the summer and winter and get
a good learning. He said he would give me a good horse, saddle
and bridle, and three suits of good clothes, and, if I remember
right, a hundred dollars in money, besides my board and keep.
Father hesitated, told him I was so small and slender he was
afraid I would not be able to do much heavy work. Nathan said, "I
want him mostly for company for the wife and children."         He
followed peddling and was gone from home a good deal.       Said I
could carry in small wood, feed the cows night and morning, take
them to the pasture about one-half mile from the house, and bring
them back at night, etc., and so flattered father until he
consented to let me go.    Mother was very much against me going
with him, and so were the children, but he took me.

We went in a sleigh, as it was late winter. Things went pretty
good for a while, but not for long.      I was not big enough or
strong enough to do all they wanted me to do, and they would scold
and fret and find fault, and cuff and jerk me about, and kick my
behind and call me any mean name that happened to come into their
heads.   (I was going to say thoughts, but I think they were
usually in such a fret they spoke before they thought.) He would
not go peddling in the spring until the ground got settled, and if
he went horseback or with the wagon, I had to gear up the horse or
horses; and I was not tall enough or strong enough to put the
saddle or harness on. Always I had to get up on the horse-block,
and the horses would always sheer off and get out of my reach, and
plague me to tears before I finally succeeded in getting the
outfit on their backs. Sometimes I would not get them on, and he
would come out raging mad, and jerk or kick me off the block, and
call me a damned little pimpin West curse, or a damned come-
by=chance, or any of a thousand mean things whereby he could vent
his passion. And his wife was not much better than he was. She
was a high-tempered fretful creature, and deceitful too.       She
would knock and kick me around in the house, but never out-of-
doors for fear somebody would see her. She nearly starved me too.
 One of our common tin cups about half full of bread and milk or
mush and milk was my allowance always. Sometimes she would let me
eat dinner at the table, but she always put on my plate what she
wanted me to have, and I got no more; and if I reached out to get
more, as I sometimes did at first, she would stamp her foot, shake
her head, and grit her teeth, let who would be at the table. No
one would know what she meant but me.     If Nathan and the girls
understood, they did not care. It suited them well enough. The
less I ate, of course, the less expense.

They bought their flour and some meat, mostly fish.       Fish was
plentiful and cheap. The people in Suffield, CN, the name of the
township we lived in, used very little pork or beef.      They had
nothing in that region to fatten them on. If they had more than
two or three cows they would let them out to people away in the
back country, and they would get a certain share of the butter and
cheese. It was a poor country for grain of any kind. They raised
no wheat and very little corn, some rye, oats and barley. Rye and
barley was most of their foodstuff, for few people could afford to
buy flour. It had to be shipped in and was expensive. But it was
a great place for fruits of all kinds--both wild and tame: apples,
pears, peaches, plums of every sort, large red cherries and
apricots. I can't remember the names of all the fruit that grew
there, both wild and tame. There were acres of land on the river,
I think, that was grape land. It was covered with a very large
kind of grape--I suppose such as they make raisins of. There were
huckleberries, strawberries, dewberries, May apples, chestnuts,
walnuts (black), butternuts, hazelnuts, etc.--the best country for
fruit of great variety I have ever seen, in the season thereof.
It was a great country for fowls, both wild and tame:       geese,
ducks and different sea fowls, and hunters and sportsmen from
cities and countries would come into that region and kill them in
great numbers, and sell the feathers to merchants and travelers,
and get most any price they wanted.

Feathers were a cash article.      I have said that Nathan went
peddling. Well, the things he peddled were feathers and indigo.
There were other men living in the same neighborhood that followed
the same business. The main road on which they lived went by the
name of Feather street. These men would go down around the sea
shore and buy feathers of merchants or other men who had
quantities.   They would buy large sacks weighing perhaps 200 or
300 lbs.   Then they would go far into the country and swap new
feathers for old ones, and get about three lbs. for one, more or
less, as they could flatter women to trade with them, or sell new
ones for a big price--any way they could get something for

Their indigo they would make themselves.     It was made of clay
mixed hard and cut into chunks about two inches square; then put
into strong blue dye until it got saturated.     Then, they would
bake it and get as many small cracks into it as they could, then
put it into the dye tub again and let the blue soak in all it
would; then dry it thoroughly. I did not see them make it, but
someone told me that they had seen it made.     They would take a
small sack of good indigo and one of home-made, and how they would
cheat the women folk, swapping that cheap stuff for feathers!
(This home-made indigo was called Spanish floaters.)

Men who followed that business got property pretty fast.      When
they brought the old feathers home, they would open the sacks, and
turn them loose in a tight room, and take a handful of brush, and
whip and thrash them about until they became lively and had every
appearance of new feathers. I've had that job to do myself--strip
off my clothes and go into a room full of feathers, naked. After
they were done I would fetch their old dead feathers to the men,
and they would put them into sacks again and call them (if they
could be brought to life again) new feathers, and make a lot of
money on them. And thus they obtained their riches by fraud and

Nathan went out    there a poor man. I don't think he had anything
but the clothes    he stood in. I have heard him say, though, that
he had a little   kit of shoe tools and went to shoemaking with old
Mister Warriner    who lived in Endfield across the river opposite
Nathan's place;   and I think he was the father of Nathan's wife.

A little circumstance that took place just after I went there
caused me to think he must be. One morning just after breakfast I
heard Nathan say to his wife, "Here come old Chaunce again a-
begging."   I looked and saw an old man coming from toward the
river with a sack under his arm, and when he came in they said,
"How-d-do, father; how-d-do, how-d-do."   I learned by listening
that he came there to get flour or other things to dine on.     I
thought they must be a poor family, or rather, a family of poor
souls (people).

Nathan had a good home, frame house and barn, well finished off,
thirty acres of land, well fenced, all kinds and sorts of fruit
trees, young, just beginning to bear.      Their garden was well
fenced with a picket fence, with currant and gooseberry bushes on
one side and end, off from the street. Then he had forty acres of
land about 3/4 mile from his home--mostly pasture land--ten acres
of beautiful meadow, and about 3 acres plowed. They had prospered
much, and had good buildings, cows and horses and wagons,
household furniture, beds, bedding, chairs, bureaus and tables,
crockery, ironware, etc.; and Nathan's wife had the big head until
she almost died with it. That was why she treated me as she did.
 I was a poor little boy, despised and abused by my own kin, who
should have been my friends.

While I was there Nathan bought another farm of 75 acres of a man
named Williams. He gave, I think, $2,100.00 for it. It had quite
a large frame house on it that looked old and weather-beaten, and
another old frame building that they used to store feathers in and
prepare the old ones for the market. There was a number of those
big sacks of feathers there when Nathan bought the place.      The
apple trees on that place must have been more than a hundred years
old.   Some of them were a foot and a half or two feet through.
Everything about the place was run down , unkempt, forsaken, and I
should say shocking to look at.     However, the storehouse was a
very good building; had a good strong door with lock and key, but
no windows--a place of darkness where evil deeds were done.
Nathan had his barn hauled down (about 1/4 mile), and they did it
they put long slides or runners under the barn and fastened to the
sides, and had six yoke of oxen hitched to each runner, and men
with their forks and poles to steady the barn until they got it
where Nathan wanted it to stand. There came a large company of
men, some to help and some to see the sport. And sport it was.
For they hollered and hoo-rahed and rah-rah-rahed, and swung their
hats, and whooped and yelled until with their noise they drew all
the women and children in the neighborhood out to see the fun.
They got quite funny, too, for they had all the liquor of various
sorts they could drink--to please the taste and gladden the heart-
-and pies and cakes and cheese all they could eat.     They had a
high time of it, and all in good nature. But my heart was not so
light, for I knew the purchase of that old barn meant a real job
for me.

I have spoken of the run-down condition of the place, but that
wasn't half. The whole farm was a wilderness of weeds, as big as
weeds could grow, some higher and bigger than I was. And I had to
take an old heavy bush scythe to mow them with, and had to stay
with it until it was done. Oh, it makes my back ache to think of
it!   I could not leave this work until chore time, and all the
water I had to drink was rain water that had stood (sometimes it
looked lye red) in holes that had been made by the cattle when the
ground was soft after a rain.    And I had to sup water that the
cattle would not sup--or starve for a drink. Nathan was so fat
and pussy that he could not get about very lively, and when he
tried he would puff and blow and grunt like he had run a long
race.   (His common weight was about 250 lbs.)    So he took life
easy at my expense. The neighbors finally got wrought up over the
way he made me work, and managed some way to get word to my people
of the abuse and hardships I had to endure, and mother and Joseph,
my brother, took each of them a horse and came for me full speed.
 Mother rode sixty-five miles a day on a horse that was sprained
in both legs
(she had a side-saddle).    Joseph rode a two-year-old colt.   They
were so anxious to get me they did not spare the horseflesh.

When they got there, Nathan was all wrought up and said I should
not go. He cursed around and said I should not have any clothes
to go in, etc.   But after he had given vent to his passion and
cooled down a little, he said I might go and take all my
belongings. He became quite good-natured and his wife also. Got
so friendly they insisted on mother and Joseph staying awhile to
rest themselves and horses, which they did.   When we left they
gave us provisions to eat on the road.

I was so full of joy I did not know how to contain myself, and
when we got so far, so I was sure he could not hear me, I would
laugh and skip and holler and whoop. Mother charged me time and
again not to make so much fuss, lest I cause excitement among the
people.   But I was Oh, so glad to get out of that hell and
darkness I had been in for three years that I could not hold back.

It was not long after I left there that Nathan went broke. His
wife left him, and the children went to Ohio.      For some time
before I left, the people of the neighborhood were in high fever
in old Connecticut about the state of Ohio, getting rid of all
their possessions as fast as they could and moving. I remember a
little song they used to sing:

     "We will plow and we will sow, we will reap and we will mow;
      We'll all get ready and we'll go to the state of Ohio.
      And we'll settle on the banks of the pleasant Ohio;
      Yes, we'll settle on the banks of the Ohio."

I think the reason Nathan went broke was because of his crooked
work. And I think that man who sold him that place, with so many
sacks of feathers, got wind of trouble and was mighty glad to get
it off his hands before he lost it. Little did he care for the
trouble he was heaping on Nathan; but I could not feel sorry for
him (Nathan). I remember the last time Nathan went out peddling
feathers and his home-made indigo, he came back cursing the people
for accusing him of having designs on them.

I haven't mentioned about going on a trip with Nathan down into
the state of Rhode Island to buy feathers--the second year I was
there. That was the time I saw the farm where father was raised,
and his father also.    It was a poor, hard, rocky country.  Not
much of the land could be plowed. They had to dig most of it up
with a mattock or grub hoe made for the purpose.      They could
hardly use a spade in that soil, for you can't spade rocks.    I
don't wonder the people got out of that place as fast as they
could, especially the farmers.

When we went on this trip, Nathan drove the team hitched to the
wagon, and I went horseback on a horse that was packed with as
many sacks as could be bound on a saddle--and I atop of them. The
feathers were new, light, and lively.    The sacks were seven or
eight feet long and four feet through, and when they were bound
on, they were higher than my head. I could not see to my right or
to my left, but straight ahead of me. It was very hot weather. I
sweat streams and nearly smothered, and we had, I think, three
days of this--until we got home, anyway. It was one hundred miles
or more--a long journey in olden times. There was a strip of land
I noticed along the river on both sides for about five or six
miles that seemed to be free from rocks, and I rested through all
my body to look at it.     This was used for pasture land.    Then
again there would be rocks a-plenty--rocks so large that no man
could handle them, and here I saw people mowing their hay. They
had to full-swing their scythes, the flints being higher than
their heads; then scoop the grass out from between the rocks.
Rocks, rocks, rocks, everywhere!!! But fruit trees did well there;
fruit a-plenty of every sort in spite of the rocks.

Well, I think I have said enough about rocks and feathers for the
present.   Well, I started to tell you about the trip home from
hell.   We were a week or more getting there.    We had to travel
slow, because Joseph and me had to take turns from riding to
walking, as the colt could not carry both of us, and we stopped a
few times on the way with relatives or friends to rest both
ourselves and the horses.    We stopped a day or two with Becky,
father's youngest daughter by his first wife.      They were very
poor, and had no place for us to sleep. But she had a very kind
neighbor who gave us beds.      Their name was Cunnibal.      They
belonged to a society of people called Dorrelites. They were a
singular sect. They would not eat or wear anything that had ever
had life--not even boots or shoes made of leather.       They wore
cloth shoes with wooden soles, and nothing of any name or nature
could be killed on his place if he knew it. They raised lots of
fruit and had many stands of bees. He took up a large quantity of
honey the day we were there. They had a long table that reached
clear across the room, loaded with honey of all sorts--in the comb
and out of the comb. They told us to go and eat all we wanted,
and gave us bread, cake and cheese to eat with it. We sure had a
feast of things, without money and without price. And the way I
laid the honey in was a caution. I ate so fast and so much, the
woman said to mother, "I am sore afraid that the boy will kill
himself." And mother said, "I don't think it will hurt him, if
you don't care."     But her saying that I would kill myself
surprised me, and I did not eat all I wanted. But I have never
hankered for it since like I did then.

When we got ready to leave, this kind man and woman furnished us
with ample provisions to last us home. We got all safe and well,
and were a happy family to be all together again.       Mother and
father would not let me work, but said I was to rest and sleep all
I wanted to. And Oh, how good it seemed when I would wake up in
the morning, as soon as I could fetch my wits about me, to know I
could go back to sleep, and there would be no one to curse me!

A little while after we got home mother got lame--so lame she
could not walk. She had a swelling come on her right thigh which
was very painful and laid her up for a long time.       After much
suffering it came to a head and broke and became a running sore,
and she had a high fever for some time. (Father thought then, and
I still think that riding so far and so fast in a day with that
leg over the horn of the side-saddle was the cause of her
trouble.)   Then I started getting weak and sickly, and soon the
both of us were bedfast. My trouble was in my bowels. Great long
worms, eight or ten inches long, would pass me at times. Father
had five doctors one after the other, but none of them did me any
good.   All of the five said I had quick consumption, for which
there was no cure--all of which was very discouraging to me, for I
had concluded I had to die. I was very thin, and weak, but I had
an awful appetite for food, and could not make out why I did not
get heavier instead of wasting to nothing.      Father had a long
cradle made so that     mother could lay out straight and rest.
Sometimes they put me in that cradle for a change, and father or
the girls would rock it. It sort of soothed the nerves.

Mother finally got so that she could hobble around, and she would
fix food and drinks for me that she thought might help me; but
nothing seemed to help. Then one day a Dr. Baldwin, a stranger to
the settlement, came by chance to our house.    Father set him a
chair. Mother was lying on the bed, and father sat on the edge of
the bed beside her. Father explained that his wife had been very
ill for some time. He (the doctor) sat facing father and mother.
 I was a little back of him; he had not seen m. Soon he glanced
around and caught sight of me in the cradle, and exclaimed, "What
have you here--another sick one?" "Yes," said mother, "He is my
boy, and he has been sick for some time. The doctors all say he
has quick consumption, and there is no help for him." He looked
steady and sharp at me for a bit. Then came over and took hold of
my nose and rubbed it a bit, and said, turning to mother and
father, "So they say he has quick consumption, do they? Well, I
can cure that consumption damn quick.    It's the devilish worms
that's killing your boy--eating up all that goes into him and
starving him to death."

At that father jumped to his feet. "You think you can cure him?"
 "I know I can cure him."       "Then get to work as quick as
possible." said father and mother. He went out immediately, and I
almost wept for joy; and believe me, the family were on the very
edge of hysteria.    He soon came back with an armful of roots,
washed and cleaned them good, and poured boiling water over them
and steeped them just so long. Then he put something he had with
him into this thin liquid, and gave me a dose.     He stayed all
night and watched me and gave me this medicine.     Then he told
mother what to do and left.

Mother was very careful to follow his directions, and within two
or three days the worms began to leave.     They came from me all
tied up in knots as big as good-sized apples--quarts and quarts of
them--or all cut up in little pieces. It was several days before
I got cleared of them. Mother watched and tended me close until
she was sure the worms were all gone.     I was so weak and sore
inside I could hardly breathe.   The doctor said the worms had
eaten all the linings of my bowels, and he said, "When this
medicine stops working, you must give him castor oil for a few
days to tone up his guts." Mother would have made an awful good
nurse; she was an all-around good woman for anything she set
herself to do.

It was quite awhile before they could get my insides in order, so
I gained strength very slowly at first.    But in a few weeks I
began to pick up real fast, and felt uncommonly well for me.
Never in my life had I felt so good, and I grew like a weed in
rich soil well cultivated (I was between 11 and 12 years old at
this time).

The family was so taken up with my case that they paid very little
attention to mother's condition. That sore kept running, and her
thigh and leg had shrunk a lot. Dr. Baldwin had gone on his way,
and mother and another doctor tried everything they knew to dry up
the sore, but did not succeed.    After several months there came
another man traveling through the country who called himself a
root doctor and said his name was styles. He was a big, raw-boned
man, and the tallest man I have ever seen before or since. He was
rising of eight feet high. When he looked at father, he wanted to
know what was the matter with him.    Father said, "I am blind. I
cannot see you at all." "Well, that's bad," said Styles. "A man
ought to have good eyes, for he can tell nothing by his ears."

I stood almost spellbound, looking at this man and listening to
him talk. He was loud-spoken, and his voice was like the sound of
a monster drum.     He saw mother and wanted to know what had
happened to her.     Father told him the whole circumstance and
wanted to know if he thought he could help her, and what he would
charge.   The man said he charged nothing for doctoring, but if
people had anything he needed or could use he would be glad to
accept it.   He looked at mother's leg and said he believed he
could heal the sore, but she likely would be lame for a long time-
-that the thigh and leg were so shrunken from the poison eating at
it so long it was doubtful if she ever could walk free again.
However, he concluded he would stop and see what he could do.

It was the fore part of the day when he stopped at our place and
after resting awhile he took a spade and went down to the pasture
(a swamp) and dug what he called a blazing fire weed. This weed
grew about four feet high, and looked something like a pig weed.
The branches all came out within a foot or two of the top and grew
straight up, not far from the stock; and there would be a number
of pods, some as large as a large pea pod. In the pods was a sort
of cotton, and when the pods burst the wind would blow the cotton
about like feathers. The roots have on a thick bark. This they
peeled off and pounded into a soft mass with no lumps in. This
they called the poultice which they applied to the sore. When one
got hard, they put on another and so on until the sore dried and
healed. It fixed mother up alright, but she was always a little
lame.   But not so much but what she could get back to her old
trace--weaving.    She had that business almost if not quite
perfect.   I have never seen, known or heard tell of anyone who
could beat her weaving by throwing their shuttle with one hand and
catching it with the other hand.      She never did use a spring
shuttle, and she could weave cloth of any kind or sort--single
work, double work, fancy work, and coverlaids of various kinds as
people would fancy.   She created and drew her own design.     She
could draw any picture she pleased, whether she had ever seen the
like or not; and whenever her picture resembled she would call it.
 And she could make them resemble anything she wanted. When the
coverlaid was made ready to spread onthe bed, there was the
picture of trees and spangles and birds, or anything people
fancied, all come out just right--perfect! How she did it I don't
know. She could weave 8 to 10 yards of cloth in a day when she
used but one shuttle and had someone to wind that could wind
quick. At the age of 60 she was still quick of motion and strong
in back and arms. She learned to weave when she was quite young;
and she followed that principally through her life to old age.

Her brother, Jonathan, followed the same line of business, and
managed a farm besides.    He married Prudence Allen.  She was a
nice wise and smart woman. She did weaving also, and they kept
one loom going night and day most of the time, especially in the
fall and winter.    She had her children and family affairs to
attend to, but for all that, she kept other irons hot. She was a
lot like the Wests. They were a working set of people, especially
Grandfather West's family.

In the old days when father lived in Rhode Island, there were
witches and misers and robbers and such. There was one gang of
robbers I used to hear them talk about--about 40 of them--that
bound themselves together by oaths to rob and plunder wherever and
whatever they got a chance--anybody and everybody, had they little
or much. And if any one of them turned traitor he was to suffer
death.   There were 4 or 5 of them who came into Rhode Island.
They lived in that neighborhood a very rich miser. He had a wife
and one daughter. And these men one night robbed him, but before
going into the house, they jumped into the sea with their clothes
on and went dripping to his house and said they were seamen and
their vessel had foundered, and all but they were lost. The whole
crew said they had not eaten for several days and were nearly
starved. They must have something to eat, and wanted a good hot
supper, so the women folk went to preparing a meal. There was an
iron shovel standing by the fire, and one of the men stuck the
shovel into the fire and after they had eaten they got this red-
hot shovel and held it over the man and demanded him to give them
his money. He refused, and they burned him and kept on burning
him and demanding--and he refusing until they burned him to death.
 Then they told the women to fork over or they would meet the same
fate. She did not dare to refuse, and the robbers took,, besides
all their beautiful silverware, which was much: knives, spoons,
cups, saucers, plates, tankards and such.     A lot of this fine
silver had the old mans initials on, and they were caught (three
of them) and identified through the sale of those things.      The
names of the three were Roy Coone, Church and Paine.

Coone and Church were the chaps that got father--broke him dead.
Father sold his farm to them in Rhode Island, and went up to old
Brimfield and bargained for a farm. He had taken Coone's notes--
payable at different times, and the man he bought from agreed to
wait on him to take his pay as he got it from Coone. But after
awhile Coone forwarded forged receipts with father's name signed
to them, and witnessed by one of the gang.      Father went after
them, but could do nothing. Of course, the man who sold to father
stuck him for his pay. But father was in the hole, and how to get
out he did not know. He could see no way but to flee the country.
 So he fled and went to York state to his brother, Samuel. Here
he took up a piece of land adjoining Uncle's.     He was up there
about two years, and got ten acres fenced and in good condition.
Then he came down to Vermont to get us to go back to York state.
But mother had been busy while he was gone--got a farm and had
things all fixed up so that father could not sell or do anything
with it, so he decided he had better stay with us in Vermont.

When father left we were in Old Brimfield, MA. And when mother
found out he had gone and left her there with us children to get
along the best we could, she fixed things there so she could
leave, and fled to her father in Vermont state. (I was about 4 y
ears old.   I can still remember several circumstances that took
place on the road.)

When we got to Vermont, mother found that her father was
considerably in dept too, and he was very much worried about it.
He had been sick quite a long time, and so had grandmother before
she died--and this had reduced him almost to poverty. Mother, by
some means, had saved up a few hundred dollars, and I have
understood that she bought her father's place at her own price.
That was not a high price.    If I remember right it was $350.00
Land and farms were low-priced in that part of the country at that
time. After, Grandfather West made his will and deeded his farm
and all he had to my brother Joseph and me. It was fenced off in
four or five fields--meadow, pasture, plow land and timber land--
hardwood timber principally consisting of beech and maple and some
sugar trees.   Grandfather thought that although the whole thing
belonged to mother, that it would be best to keep it in his own
name and deed it to us in legal form, so that father's creditors
could not come on us and take it for his debts. He had it fixed
so that it could not be sold or by any means disposed of until I
was 21. Then we could manage it anyway we wanted to. Eventually
father's children got busy and settled up all his debts in old
Brimfield, and then some of them went to York state and took
possession of father's property there.    It was not any fault of
father's that he got so into debt, for he was not a man to have
debts facing him. It was the crooked work of Coone and Church,
the robbers, that brought trouble upon his head, and when he was
face to face with it he went into a panic.

We did not hear from John and Phineas for a number of years after
they went up into York state. (John and Phineas were younger sons
of the first family--married the Witter sisters--probably nieces
of Hannah Witter, the mother of the boys.) There was no direct
connection between York and Vermont in those days. The only way
we could get word or send word was way around by Old Brimfield.
There was a big high mountain between Oneida County, New York and
Vermont, called Vermins Green Mountain from which Vermont derived
its name.   The reason it was called Vermins Green Mountain was
because it was infested with so many wild animals: bears, wolves,
wildcats, catamount, elk, moose, deer--in fact, all names of wild
animals; and it was covered with a heavy growth of timber that is
called ever-living green, such as pine, hemlock, spruce, balsam,
cedar and such. And the tops of these trees are always green. It
was considered to be a very dangerous thing to attempt to travel
over this mountain unless you had plenty of company and was well
armed with rifles, butcher knives, and all manner of weapons. The
road over this mountain was very narrow and crooked, and it was
like traveling in the night no matter what time of day you went
through, especially if it was a cloudy day. From the east side it
is seven miles to the top, but from the west it is only five
miles.   It is very steep on the northeast, but gradual on the
west, with not so much timber. Before I left, there was a company
grant to make a turnpike road. They cut away timber from four to
eight rods wide and made quite a straight road. It had never been
traveled much before the turnpike road was made, but it got to be
the main road from the capitol of Vermont state to Albany, NY.

So much for the road.    I will go back to myself again and our
affairs.   After I got well from that worm sickness I took to
growing very fast, and put on inches that fall and winter, and got
lots stronger. Joseph, me and the girls all went to school that
winter. After school we all went to making sugar. We had a place
to boil our sap, and we had fixed what we called a sap-yoke made
to fit our shoulders, and we would carry two buckets full at one
time to the boiling place. We made plenty of sugar for our own
use, and some to spare--also some molasses and vinegar. As soon
as the sugar season was over we started fixing and mending fences
and making ready to put in our spring crops. We did not sow much
wheat, but we sowed oats, barley, rye and flax seed--also peas,
beans, corn and plenty of potatoes. We always kept the weeds down
well, and usually had good crops. After the spring crops were in
we went right to haying.    And when the hay was in the barn, we
would be ready to harvest our grain, peas, beans, etc. and dig
potatoes and get everything safe and secure before the cold days
and frosty nights hit us. We were always the first people in our
vicinity to have our winter supplies in and our work all done in
the season thereof, and ready to prepare other things as needed.

We also made a practice of gathering chestnuts and black walnuts
to crack winter evenings when there was nothing else to do, or to
entertain visitors, etc. There was a man by the name of Eastman
living near us that had a hill pasture on which grew a great many
chestnut trees. Any of the neighbors might go there and gather an
ordinary amount if the would notify him of their intentions; he
wanted all to share alike. So my brother, Joseph, went and got
liberty to gather a few chestnuts. He took a horse and as many
sacks as he thought he could pile on the horse, and came home
loaded.   Then Justin Warriner, my wife's brother, seeing this,
went and got liberty to gather a few chestnuts.      He took two
horses and a wagon, and came home loaded. Eastman found out about
it, and told a neighbor they had taken a lot more than he had any
idea they would take.

That winter all of us children went to school regularly until it
closed.   Joseph, myself, and the girls all went to school the
winter Phineas died, as long as school lasted. When school was
out we went right to work making sugar, as was our custom. The
sugar season lasted until about the first of May-sometimes a
little later.   The snow in that country would generally lay on
until the last of April or fore part of May, and we could make
sugar or molasses as long as the ground was frozen.       When the
weather got so warm we would make a barrel or two of vinegar.
Then, there was always fence repairing before we started putting
in the crops, after which Joseph and I would gather birch sticks
and hew off the branches to make brooms. (Father could not do any
kind of work out of the house, so he made birch brooms summer and
winter all year around.       He could not sell many in our
neighborhood, but he would make up a goodly parcel of othem and
take them down to the Shakers, about 40 miles from our place, and
trade them for clothes, shoes, etc. that were rather the worse for
wear.   The shoes would usually have a hole about the size of a
dollar worn through the sole right on the ball of the foot, caused
by whirling on that part of the foot, which was a part of their
worship.   They gave him good bargains always on account of his
blindness and lameness.   They gave him liberty to sit where he
could see, or rather hear their worship.       They would have a
regular dance, and then start to whirl like a top. They wore very
long hair, and it would switch in each others faces, into their
mouths, and around their arms, breasts and shoulders. They were a
sight indeed.

Well, the crops all in, we now had to go after weeds and thistles-
-keeping them down, and were busy until haying time, when Joseph
would mow, and me and sister, Sally, would get it into the barn.
Joseph also cut grass for other people--by the acres sometimes,
and sometimes by the day. Justin Warriner and Reuben Grover would
take jobs with him. Get those three boys together and they were
what you would call an annoying set. They would generally take
along a bottle of rum, and they would run races and wrestle and
hip-hurrah until a stranger would be very apt to pronounce them
crazy. But they did their work. They would cut a good many acres
of grain in a day, and do it well. I know they must have done or
people would not have wanted them, and they were always being
sought. The hay season usually lasted until the first of October.
 Then by the time other crops were garnered, winter was on us
again, and school was coming on too.

I did not go to school this winter, and Reuben Green did not
teach.   He was a shoemaker by trade, and I worked with him to
learn the trade instead of going to school. There was a man by
the name of Rolfe who taught school this year.        He had five
fingers and a thumb on each hand, and Joseph and the girls went to
his school. I worked all winter with Reuben Green and learned the
shoemaker trade. I learned other things, too--one was not to lie
as he did.   People would got to him with leather to be made up
into boots or oshoes for which they weere suffering the need, and
he would promise to have it done "by tomorrow", when he knew it
was not possible to come within ten days or two weeks of
fulfilling his promise. "Well, no, they are not quite done, but
they will be tomorrow night--not later than the day after
tomorrow." And when they came back again he had some very good
excuse to offer. Had to do this or that; go here or there. I
mind even now how those little lies affected me. It wasn't long
until Israel Comstock and his two daughters had all the business
in those parts, and I was downright glad, for they were honest and
did excellent work.   After that winter I was afraid to promise
people anything for fear some accident or unavoidable thing might
happen to keep me from filling my promise. I have said I went to
the best school that winter I ever went to--I learned a lot more
than shoemaking.

Well, we had altogether a good farm for that part of the country,
and it was the best thing that could have happened to all the
family concerned.     We could help one another as our needs
required. But Joseph gave us to understand that he was in line
for a family now, and he must think of that first, as he wanted to
get in shape to educate and otherwise take care of them. I had
one horse and a yoke of three-year-old steers, and Joseph had a
team, so we worked together mowing grass and getting in the hay.
Sally did most of the treading, both on the sled and in the barn.
 Mother did most of the housework, making cheeses and curing them.
 She made cheese to sell, as well as to keep the family supplied.
 She also had a big garden of vegetables and flowers which she
kept weeded and looking perfect. She wove cloth both for wearing
apparel and for fancy things. as I before mentioned.       She was
indeed a smart woman for work.    I have never yet known a woman
that could compare in any way with my mother.

Father did many little odd jobs, such as churning butter, carrying
wood, and chopping some kindling (had to feel where he hit); and
altogether we got along very well, and had things as nice as any
farmer in our locality. And with all the drawbacks of those parts
in those times, we had better surroundings than most people in
those parts with everything in their favor. So far as I have been
able to observe, people in those parts just expect the Lord to
hand over everything all stitched up or ready-made. People don't
weed their gardens, there, much less their fields and all around
outside their fences. And that's much more of a job than anyone
would think that is not acquainted with conditions back there in

That fall Joseph and I took a job of cutting cord wood for a man.
 I could cut and cord two cords a day, and Joseph two.      He was
bigger and stronger than I was--larger in every way.     But I had
some arts that he didn't have.      I could beat him all hollow
pitching hay.   I was not afraid to pitch with any man, big or
little. I was quick of motion--much quicker that Joseph. I have
pitched hay on a bet many times.     When I would beat them they
would say, "You sure deceive your looks, young man."       But you
can't tell by the look of a frog how far he will jump. They told
me I was a chip off the Porter block, for when my father was a
young man, he could out-hop any man in the country. He would hop
three hops and kick a hat off a ten foot pole that stood straight
up, and still keep on his feet; and did it time and time again.

Old Nathan Tanner (my mother's first husband's cousin) related to
me these same circumstances.    Brother Tanner was raised in the
same neighborhood as my father. He told me he was well acquainted
with father and grandfather in the state of Rhode Island. Brother
Tanner told me of many circumstances that took place in those
days--one in respect to Ross, Coone and Church cheating father out
of his farm. He told me that my grandfather was called "Old Tip"
because his name was Timothy, and that they called father
"Hoppity-Kickity" because he could out-hop any person known in
these parts.

Nathan Tanner lived and died between the two Cottonwood creeks
south of Salt Lake City. He said his cousin, Nathan (my mother's
first husband) was a blacksmith by trade, and one day there was a
number of men who were testing their strength by lifting the
anvil, but none of them could carry it. So his cousin, Nathan,
went over, caught up the anvil, and carried it across the shop.
This caused something inside to break, and that caused his death.
 I had heard my mother tell the same story when I was a lad at
home. She said he killed himself carrying an anvil on a bet. O
pride, pride and ambition, "conquer or die"--all this is well in
a worthy cause, but more people do things to satisfy vanity (even
unto death) than they do in the cause of truth and worthy
accomplishment.   "I will be the smartest, the strongest, the
quickest, the best in the crowd"--no matter what the game; whether
it's hopping, skipping, jumping, wrestling, or pitching hay.     I
must be it, let the consequences be what they may!! Such is the
vanity of man.
After the hay was gathered. . . I soon had to go to cutting my
small grain and mow and rake it, and gather it the same as hay
because of the thistles which were among it. By cutting it when
it was either green or damp it would not waste much. Then I had
to gather my other crops. Once securing them it seems that there
is always something on hand for a farmer to do. He must not be
idle for it is written that the laborer shall not eat the bread
nor wear the garment of the laborer. Some think an industrious
farmer earns his bread and clothing, but I believe there are many
in the world who do not. When I had my crops all secured for the
winter, there was shoemaking to be done, but I did not make shoes
for the neighbors after our school began. Sister Sally and myself
went to school most of the time that winter.      There was the
thrashing to be done. Father thrashed some of the grain and then
came the sugar making. The sugar season lasted until May. I had
to cut all the wood for the sugar work, and tap the trees and
gather the sap and haul the fire wood and cut most of it fit for
the fire ( I was now 16 years old and about as large as common
young men of my age).     I got along very well with our sugar

I had to keep father in broom sticks, and fit them for him. He
could not be content unless he was at work at something to busy
his mind. Father would make them very nice to please the people--
not in our neighborhood--for they wanted him to give them away. He
would take them down among the Shakers and do very well. I made
some shoes for the neighbors, but there were two of our neighbors
who never bothered the shoemakers. They had 8 or 10 children in
each family, but they would not get their children either hats or
shoes. The boys never wore hats or shoes summer or winter. They
went to school all winter bare foot, and the girls had nothing but
some old stockings. Most of them had good farms for that part of
the country, but they said they had worked hard for what they got,
and they would not let their children waste it by tearing around
with other children at school or anywhere else. Some of them were
grown men and women, but they would not let either the boys or
girls work for other people to get anything they needed new.

I didn't work at shoemaking much for there was plenty for me to do
on the farm (I was now 17). There were the fences to repair and
the plowing to be done and putting in our spring crops, and by the
time I had got that done, then I had to go to work and not let the
thistles and weeds get so as to injure the crops, and it kept me
very busy. I could not get time to be idle or to play, for it was
highly necessary to keep what we planted clean from weeds in that
country as it is in any country. I had to keep on hoeing until
haying came on; then the haying to do.      I got so I could mow
pretty well--the worst trouble was I couldn't learn to whet my
scythe so as to have it cut well--and in fact I never could. I
believe I did all my mowing this year and hauled my hay with one
horse. It took me awhile to get all the hay in the barn. I think
there was about 10 acres to mow over.        Well about as I had
finished haying, there was the small grain to harvest, and by the
time that was done it became time to haul beans, corn and potatoes
and secure all for the winter. When all was secured--well now you
may rest for a few days. But you must get up a big pile of wood
for winter before the snow comes deep and before school commenced.
 My sister, Sally, and I went to school most of the winter. After
school was out we prepared for the making of sugar. . . . .

One of the neighbor's boys went away and learned the furniture-
making trade, but could not sell his chairs, etc., so he wanted me
to go in with him and make wooden bottles.      It looked like it
might bring us in a little money, so I agreed. He made them of
poplar wood--quarts, pints, any size anyone would want. We sold a
few in the neighborhood, but to merchants and vendors of whiskey
we sold them by the dozens. We got some money and some store pay
as we needed. When I had to go at the farm work, he would go back
to making chairs and such things as he could sell. He could make
more money staying steady at bottle-making, but if I let my crops
go to loose ends, I would lose more than I would gain--much more.
 I knew that and had to look out for it.     Then came winter and
Christmas time, and I could make more at shoe and boot making.
And he could not make bottles alone, for as soon as the timber was
gathered it had to be sawed in lengths, bored with an auger,
boiled and painted. We would both bore, he would turn. I would
boil and we'd both paint.

After Christmas I would go to school until sugar-making time. I
was 18 now and had only about 27 months schooling altogether--and
I did want to get learning enough to do or handle common business,
especially in ciphering. If you don't know how to add, subtract,
multiply and divide, you're putty if you fall into the hands of a
shark--and so far I had got only to the double rule of three.

I did not make sugar, for father was owing about $30.00 or $40.00
to old Major Mann for goods purchased from his store, and he was
threatening to sue if the bill was not soon paid. So Joseph said
he would help make sugar and do the farming if I would go out and
get work and square up with the old man. I went directly to see
the old man, and after some talk and parley, he gave me work at
$90.00 a month. I did all the chores, tended the garden, and did
errands for the housekeeper, and a lot of running around for
everybody else.

Their housekeeper was a big stout woman, which stood her in good
stead, for she had much to do. Breakfast must be served at 6 o'
clock prompt.   Everybody that ate at the kitchen table must be
seated at that time or get nothing to eat until dinner. Old Mrs.
Mann had a table in her sitting room, and ate by herself except
when she had distinguished company.     She didn't eat until the
other breakfast was over and the kitchen work all tidied up. Then
the mistress of the house had the daintiest and best the land
could supply.   The hired men would get all the old stuff they
could not sell and would not eat--old stinking bacon, moldy
cheese, rancid butter, and every old thing that could not be sold
in the store. Mrs. Gould, the housekeeper, would wash and re-salt
and work the butter all over so as to make it as palatable as
possible. And she would try hard to make everything clean and fit
to eat.   She was a good-natured, peaceable woman, and got along
the very best with everybody.

When I commenced working for the old Major the snow was nearly a
foot deep on the bottoms, and there was a man who worked by the
year by the name of Blodgett.     His family lived on the place
nearby, and he and I worked together most of the time. We had to
saw some big pine logs they had for firewood. They were about 5
feet through, and we used a cross-cut saw, and at first I tired
very easy. It would make my back ache, and after we got a log cut
up, I sat down while Blodgett fixed another log in place. There
came a woman and hoisted the kitchen window, stuck her head out
and said, "Porter, we don't hire men to set on logs!" And bang
went the window. Said I to Blodgett, "What woman is that?" Said
he, "That was the Missus." "What! The old Major's wife?" "Yes,"
he said. "Is she in the habit of cutting up such dapers?" "Huh!
You will find out a lot of things if you stay here very long."
Well, that is something I don't like. "Why, the old Major is here
not more than six rods off. If my work don't suit him, let him
speak up and tell me so." Well, we sawed another log and I sat
down again. Up went the window again, "Porter, didn't I tell you
we don't hire men to set on logs? We hire them to work!" "Madam,
I think you would do full as well to mind your own business. Shut
down that window and keep back in the house." Did she rage! She
struck out with her arm, and with her fist doubled, waved and
wagged and shook it at me, and said I was nothing but a worthless,
good-for-nothing, saucy rascal. How dared I to talk to her like
that? "Yes, Madam, I dare to talk to you just like that, and I
will talk a damned site worse if you don't keep on your side of
the house, mind your own business and let men's business alone."
She raged and cursed and shouted and swore, up one hill and down,
and clenched her fist and swung her arm. And I clenched both of
my fists and swung both of my arms and swore back. She finally
slammed the window down.    I think she was afraid I would lam a
wedge or something at her.    I was ashamed of myself afterwards.
But I had never been used to such things, and I was a little
fiery, and had lived some at old Buffalo where it was a common
thing for men and boys to curse and swear almost every other word
in ordinary conversation--and I soon learned the art--and when you
have learned it is hard to overcome and break yourself of the
habit. If you get a little riled up, out it comes quicker than
scat. I've often thought that maybe it was no wonder that old St.
Peter cursed and swore. I think that he had got into that habit
before he became a disciple of Jesus.

Anyway, old Missus Mann didn't hoist the window up any more, but
it seemed to me she strained her wits to hunt up something to find
fault about, so as to have a fuss with me. Mr. Blodgett and I cut
up all those logs, split the blocks, and carried them up to the
woodhouse and corded it up. And we usually worked late. Often it
would be after supper time before I got through milking, and the
old lady would meet me at the kitchen door and begin her tirade.
She would shout and shake her fist and curse me and call me a
shiftless, lazy loafer. I would try to tell her the reason of my
being late, but she would hear none of it. Then I would get mad
and curse her, and we would have it up and down. But she would
see to it that I got no supper--or thought she had. But old Mrs.
Gould had put me wise. She would leave the pantry door unlocked,
and I would go in and look up and eat my fill of good things, such
as served to the family. The buttery was always full of bread,
biscuits, pie or cake, milk, butter (fresh), cream, sugar,
molasses, etc. and I would go to bed happier than any man on the
job.   Mrs. Gould, a widow, Blodgett, and even the old major
himself, were very friendly to me--never found fault with me that
I ever heard of. My war with the Missus lasted quite a number of
weeks, but I finally got so I would not speak to her or answer
when she spoke to me. After all, it is wisest to keep still and
not argue with anyone, let alone such a rattle-brained creature as
she was.

There were some men who got a grant to make a turnpike road along
the river. It took a piece of land about a mile long out of old
Major's farm, and he put all his men to work on it. There were
about 16 hands working on it, and old Major put on a team and
Porter had to drive it. I was a good hand with horses they said.
 Blodgett and Porter also made beer for the men (on stormy days)
down in the old store cellar. Old Major had a hogshead of good
thick molasses sent him from Boston or the coast for that purpose.
 The old Major had 3 stores filled with everything there was to be
had. His son, Job, took care of the stores in Vermont where we
lived; his father took charge of the big store on the other side
of the Connecticut River in the township of Oxford, NH.        The
Connecticut River was the dividing line between the two states.
He had, besides the stores, 3 or 4 good farms, well equipped for

Come haying time, the old Major notified all the men who were
owing him to come and work off the debt in the hay.        Well, a
motley crew of us got together and set off with our oxen, wagons,
a keg of rum, blankets, buffalo robes, forks, scythes, rakes and
provisions to last until the hay was up.     Shortly after we got
started, here came a man with a team and wagon, and said his name
was Benjamin Putman, and he had come to haul hay. He said he came
to pitch hay, and began at once to boast of his prowess--dared any
man in the company to pitch against him? He bet 2 gallons of rum
that he could beat any man there, or anywhere else, pitching hay.
 He got garrulous and cocky and very confident, and I began to get
worked up and excited, and I knew after a few days of his bragging
that if someone didn't take him up, I would. So I said, "Men, why
don't some of you take that chap up?       He says he will bet 2
gallons of rum he can outpitch any man here. Take him up, some of
you, at his offer. He's a big stout man, of course, and no doubt
thinks he can outpitch the crew.     Perhaps he can.   None of us
knows. But I'd sooner lose 2 gallons of rum and be done with it
than listen any longer to his insulting language." Nobody spoke
up, so I said, "Well, if no one else will take him up, I will. I
don't care how big he is nor how stout he is, he can't sit on me
and rub it in without some opposition."

Well the whole company became alert and excited, and said if I
would pitch hay with him they would pay for the rum if I lost.
Next day he came back bragging worse than ever--said we were all
cowards and dare not try. "Well, stranger," said I, "You and I
will try that little game, and see if you are as good a man as you
think." He looked at me with such an air of disdain that it might
have scared me if I hadn't tried pitching with others just as
confident.   He took it as an insult and said, "I think you are
joking--a young beardless boy, the youngest and lightest of the
crowd. No, I will pitch with a man, not a boy." But our company
told him I was in real earnest, and if I lost they would pay for
the 2 gallons. So we made the arrangements.

They had the hay in shocks, and we had two men go and pick of the
shocks as equal as they could.    Then we drew cuts for choice.
There was a mow at the end of the barn that we could not see over
to each other's load, and we had two men stand at either end of
the stack,back far enough that they could watch us both at the
same time, and when one man threw off his last fork of hay, they
were to holler, and the other man must stop pitching.      When I
threw my last fork full on the mow, they hollered and yelled and
screamed and hurrahed till you would have thought a gang of crazy
drunks had surprised us in our lair. All hands rushed to see how
much I had beat my opponent, and all agreed he had at least 400
pounds weight still on his wagon. Again they shouted and hooted
and belittled Putman until he jumped from his wagon, and in a fit
of rage started cursing and swearing, and said he would not pay
that debt. The men said, "You will pay that debt or we will ride
you till you haven't a rag left on your back."     He said, "I'll
pitch another load with that young man before I will pay a cent."
 "Oh, no you won't. He has done all that was fair and honorable
according to your own bargain, and if you want any skin left on
your body, you pay."

So he went and got the rum, and that night we fellows had one
spree. And Putman's swagger had dropped off like a rotten apple,
and the bragger's mouth was closed. I told the men after about
the reputation I had for pitching hay in our own town. Then they
could see why I was so anxious for someone to go up against this
powerful man. I did not want to brag, but man's vanity urged me

I must relate an instance that brought about my last fight with
old Missus Mann. We got our hay all up and went back to the old
Major's home,   and I to weeding the garden, according to Mrs.
Mann's orders. One morning, Tim, one of the hired boys, called to
me and said, "One of the sheep has just been killed by a big dog.
 Come and help me kill him."    We chased that dog for maybe two
hours before we got a chance to get him. Then we went over to the
store and had some kind of a drink Tim mixed up which was very
good to the taste, and when I got back to the house, breakfast was
over with, but Mrs. Gould had not cleared up.        Mr. Mann was
waiting for me and began, "Where have you been, and what have you
been doing?"   I told her about the dog and sheep affair.      She
said she cared nothing about the sheep or the dog--she had told me
to weed that garden! I did not say anything to that and she got
madder and madder, and yelled vituperous things at me--and I said,
"I feel another storm brewing. If you don't shut your mouth and
get back to your room, it is apt to break out in great fury."
And it did. Finally I said, "I am going to church next Sunday and
enter in a complaint against you. I am going to let the parson
and the people know of your infernal disposition and unholy
actions. You are not fit to belong to any church or anything else
that professes Christianity. I shall tell them nothing I cannot
prove, and bring plenty of evidence to back me. And I believe I
can have you excommunicated from the Church, and cut off from all
you associates.   Mind what I tell you, for I mean every word I
say. I think it is my duty, and that God will judge between thee
and me."   She looked as if she had been hit with a stone wall,
dropped her head in her hands, and went to her room weeping or
pretending to weep; I don't know which.

I neither saw nor heard any more of her until Saturday.      Along
about 10 o'clock I heard someone call, "Porter." I cast my eyes
toward the house and saw her, but pretended not to hear.       She
called again, "Porter! Porter!" Said I, "What is wanting?" "Come
to the window a minute." "I haven't time to spend running around,
I have work to do." "Come here, please, I want to talk to you."
So I went. "I think you must be getting hungry and faint. Come
in and have something to eat and drink with me, and be friends,
and have no more quarreling and disputes." "Well," I said, "I am
certainly willing to be friends." And I added that if she would
agree to attend to her own affairs, I would attend to mine--or
rather, I would take my orders from Blodgett and the Major, and do
as they said. She could manage the household affairs and let the
men handle their affairs as they saw fit.     To this she agreed.
"Then I am ready to eat and drink with you." But when she picked
up the glass to pour, I said, "Madam, you must first drink of the
beverage, then I will drink. I don't know that you have not put
poison in it.    If you drink first I will feel safe."       "Why,
Porter, do you think I would do such a thing as that?" "I don't
know what you would do, Madam. Drink and eat; then I will. What
will poison me will poison you, and I shall feel safe." At that
she wept. I could see the tears roll down her cheek. I knew then
that she was grieved, and I felt sorry for her. After she calmed
down a little, she poured and drank, and ate a piece of pie. I
took a biscuit, some cheese, and drank some of the liquor.
Together we freely partook, and we chatted very friendly. After
that all was peace and sociable with us, and Blodgett said, a
month or two after that, there sure had been a wonderful
reformation in that Mann family. Said he had never seen things so
peaceful around there in all the years he had worked for them.

After we got the haying and harvesting done that fall, I told the
Major if he was willing I would like to go home for a few weeks
and rest up, and maybe help out some with things around home. He
said I might go and I need not come back until it was time to
prepare for winter. I found the folks at home as well as common,
and I was glad to see them, and they me.      I rested and amused
myself by walking over the farm and sizing things up. I wanted to
find out if everything was in good shape for winter. While I was
so engaged, one of our neighbors by the name of Edward Gilmore
came over looking for a man to put in his hay.       It looked as
though there was a storm brewing, and his hay being a coarse kind
(clover-leaf and timothy) it would soon soak through and become
reined. He said if he could get a man for one day, he'd give him
a dollar in silver money. I said, "Well, I came home for a rest
after a hard summer's work, but you seem to need help, and I guess
one more day's work won't hurt me so I'll come. "Alright," he
said, "Come early before breakfast.    I have another man coming
with a team, and another to help load and mow away. And Nicholas
will help you."

I had long been acquainted with this Gilmore family and knew them
to be a very nice sort of people.     They were well off, and had
plenty of this world's goods, and all around well-shaped up for
people in those parts at that time.      They were a generous and
liberal family, and morally clean and good. They did not profess
any religion of any sort--were not stuffed up with superstition or
bigotry and were willing to live and help others to live. I was
on the job early next morning, all prepared for work (had
breakfast at home). And there we waited and waited for the other
men to come, and me and Mr. Gilmore got to fretting around till
come 10 o'clock, and still no one showed up.      Mr. Gilmore got
entirely out of patience. The clouds were looking more and more
black and heavy. Then said I, "Mr. Gilmore, don't fret yourself.
 Your hay will all be in the barn before dark, if Nicholas will
load and mow away."   "Oh, that would be an impossibility unless
that man gets here with his team."     "Well, Nicholas, get along
with your team, and we will see what we shall see," said I. When
we got out in the meadow I said to Nicholas, "Now, we must put on
every spear we think our oxen can haul. Make your load as big as
you think you can get in the barn with."

Mr. Gilmore watched us, and when we got in, he was out there with
a fine liquor concoction that braced us up for another try. And
everytime we came in thereafter, he was out there with a good
drink and all kinds of dainties to eat. I had said to him, "We do
not stop to sit down to eat until all this hay is in the mow." So
he said to his wife, "Keep flowing bowls and the best you can make
for them to eat. Sanford is as wet as though he had been dipped
in the river."

When we got in with the last load it was rather darkish in the
barn, and I told Nicholas to get on the mow. He said he could not
do it, for he was almost tired to death. Then Mr. Gilmore pled
with me to leave it on the wagon until morning. "No, it must be
in before dark. I told you it should be safe in the barn before
dark, and I won't be entirely satisfied until it is where I said
it should be.    I must throw it off the wagon, and if Nicholas
cannot move it away, it will have to stay where I put it." So at
it I went, and it was not really dark when I threw my last fork.
Mr. Gilmore could not get over it.      He said he had had some
bullies for pitching hay, but he would gamble that no man in a day
would have pitched on and off more than half as much as I had
since 10:00 that morning. I had pitched on and off nine loads.
And they were loads. He had agreed to pay me a dollar a day, but
he handed me two dollars, saying, "If you want more you can have
it." "No, Mr. Gilmore. I want only that which was agreed upon.
I was not thinking of the wage, only of getting that hay in."

(Back at Major Mann's Sanford repaired some old fencing.)   The old
Major was buying up fat cattle to take to market. He bought up
about 160 head, and hired old Capt. Newel to take them to Boston
to market. He wanted me to go and help drive the drove of cattle.
 He said he would furnish me with a good horse and let my wages go
on the same as if I was at work and Capt. Newel would pay all
expenses there and back. Because he did not know that Capt. Newel
would have a chance to sell the horse and I would have to come
back on foot, Newel would furnish me with money to bare my
expenses back. I told him I would go and help in the drive. Old
Capt. Newel I was not acquainted with--I did not know what sort of
a man he was, but I found him to be quite sociable and talkative.
 We started our drive. We drove very slow, for the cattle were
fat, and the weather warm. My horse had to do all the running,
for the old Capt. was fat and fussy, and would follow behind in
the road, and would not turn much to the right or left. But he
was of a good disposition. I believe the worst fault he had was
he drank too much rum or brandy or wine. He kept a bottle in his
pocket and would take a drink very often.     He would urge me to
drink with him almost every time he drank, but I would not drink
his rum or brandy unless I had water to weaken it. But to please
him I would put it to my mouth and make him think that I had taken
a drink. We got along with our drive very well, but slow. I do
not know how many days we were getting to Boston.     We left our
drive in Charlestown, opposite Boston.    (The Captain and I went
across the bridge to the city.    He led and I followed.)    Capt,
Newel said he did not know but he would have to stay until they
were butchered and the beef sold.

I stayed a day or two and whether he sold the horse or not I had
to go back on foot and alone. The Capt. gave me money to bare my
expenses. I started very early in the morning. I went on until I
got rather faint and hungry and I stopped at a tavern and called
for my breakfast. They wanted to know what I would have. I told
them what I would like.      They soon got what they called my
breakfast. She got a chair and sat down at the table. She sat
right at the head of the table nearly opposite me.       She was
dressed so fine and was so genteel that she fairly scared me. I
was filled so full I could scarcely swallow. I drank one cup of
coffee and ate a little and got up from the table.

She was a fine lady at the head of the table. I ate what there
was and told her to fetch me more.     She appeared to be mad and
looked cross.   I said, "What made you look so cross? Don't be
afraid." I told her what to bring; she went and brought me some
more and sat down at the head of the table. I said to her, "I am
looking about to see if I can find a woman that suits me for a
wife, and I like your looks. Are you a married woman?" "No," she
spoke short and cross.   "I make short courtship--will you marry
me?" No--she did not want to marry anybody. "Well, Madam, I want
some more victuals brought on. I haven't eaten half enough yet."
 I told her I lived in the back country. She brought on some more
and sat it down on the table and muttered out something. I ate
until I thought I had got the worth of what I had paid out. I
paid her 25 cents and bid her goodby and went on.     I never was
afraid to eat after that, let who would set the table.

I went on to old Major's.     My time was up and more too.      We
settled up and I took a receipt from him in full of all demands
against father and he paid me what he was owing me for my work. I
went in the house and was packing my clothes and was about to
start home. I got as far as the door and looked steady at Mrs.
Mann, for I thought it was the last time I would see her on earth,
but said nothing to her.    I went to the store and bid the old
Major goodby and started for home. I got home and handed father
the receipt. He said it was alright. I think it was then about
the first of November.

The young people had a custom of having a party on Thanksgiving
Day in the afternoon or night. They would have picked couples--
have a committee of 3 or 4 young men to pick out the couples they
wanted to dance. I happened to be picked with my partner for one
couple. They would have as many as could be accommodated in the
big hall at the old room in Nalby's tavern. There would be 20 or
30 couples.
They would have supper in the fore part of the evening. Later on
in the night we would all be seated and they would hand around
pies and cakes and cheese, ginger bread, sweetened liquor such as
would please the taste and cheer the feelings. It was a feast for
thanksgiving. Whether we felt thankful or not, we had to pay for

The nut trees were high. We had to wait until the nuts would drop
off and it would take cold, freezing weather and high winds to
shake them off. Sometimes they remained on all winter. But then
we would get poles and knock them off.    Some of them were more
like apple trees. We would climb up and shake them. Then I had
to get broom sticks for father, and also my other chores to do to
prepare for the winter and to go to school.     The winter's wood
must not be neglected. I had shoe making to do for ourselves and
for as much as I would do for the neighbors.     They urged me to
make them boots. I told them to go to Mr. Comstock and get their
work done. They knew if he did their work they would have to pay
him and he charged a high price--and pay down in money or
something else at market price. But if they could get me to do
their work they could pay me in almost anything, or not at all.
Mr. Comstock was a good workman and so were his girls, but he was
close and tight. He was a speculator and got property very fast.

We got our planting done, then got to hoeing. We had to hoe all
we could hoe over 2 or 3 times over to keep the weeds and thistles
down so they would not suffer (the plants). Sometimes they would
suffer for want of rain.    We knew nothing about irrigating the
crops or land in that country. I never saw it done in any of the
eastern states.   I never saw it done anywhere until we came to

One day I got a horse and was riding toward the house when I saw a
man coming--walking with a staff. We met one another, and behold,
it was old Major Mann.     "How do you do, Major.     How is your
"They are well--all that are alive, but I have lost my wife since
you left us. She died 2 or 3 months after you left us. She died
very suddenly. She wasn't sick but a few days. It has broke me
up or been the cause of my being broke up. There were merchants
in Boston that I was owing.    They heard that my wife was dead.
They came and attached everything I had and it was sold at
auction, and I have nothing left. I am now picking up the crumbs
that people owe me. I was looking at the account between you and
me and found that we in settling had made a mistake in my favor. .
. and you owe me 12 1/2 cents." Seeing how he got so took up and
was so poor, I put my hand in my pocket and took out 12 1/2 cents
and handed it to him.

Sometime later I started for the Holland purchase in Buffalo
country where Abner and Susannah Currier lived.   I went looking
around the country to see if I could find a place that suited me
to make a farm.    I went up the creek from Abner's a number of
miles, but could not find any place that was fit for a farm, but
what was already taken up. Two or three miles beyond Uncle Dake's
there I found land that was not claimed by anybody, and it lay
very handsome. I took up my claim of 100 acres and stuck stakes
and put my name on the stakes. There was a Joe Cooper who made a
and I laid my claim side by side with his.

I felt very disappointed when I got back to my place to learn that
Joe Cooper had given up his claim, for we were going to live in
his shanty and work together--and we should be handy to our work.
 Now I would have to walk 2 miles night and morning, and live with
Uncle Dake.   I let them have the cow to milk.     I furnished my
eats, and Auntie Dake cooked them for me.     The milk and butter
from the cow helped pay her. I cut down and trimmed up all the
timber on six acres of land, burned up the brush, and went to see
if I could get a couple of men to help me haul the logs. I got
them together with a team and we started hauling. But we had got
only one heap of lots when it began to thunder, and big black
clouds began piling up in the west. "Well," they said, "We may as
well quit and go home before it starts to rain, for it will likely
pour for the next few days."    I said, "Oh no, you will not go
home, for I have got to get these logs hauled. I have gone to a
lot of trouble to get you here, and I can't afford to have you
leave now." "It's like this, young man, we have lived hereabouts
for a good many years, and never yet seen a thunderstorm come up
this way but it poured rain for several days." I said, "Oh, it is
not going to rain today, for I will not let it!" "And how are you
going to prevent it?"     They asked.    "I'll show you how I'll
prevent it." And I ran and jumped upon a big stump and commanded
those clouds to divide and half go south and the other half go
north, and let the sun shine on us, for the work here must be
done. I acted it all out with my hands and my whole body, as if I
was in great earnest. And I was in earnest. To our surprise, the
clouds parted, and part of them rolled to the north and the rest
to the south, and the thunder went with them, and the sun shone
down on us!   The elements had obeyed me!    The men said it beat
anything they had ever seen in their lives, and they looked at me
as if I was some strange being that had suddenly appeared before
them.   I was a stranger to them, having met them but the day
before--but to confess, I was as surprised at the time as they
were.   I believe that men could control the elements much more
than they do if they would exert the powers that God gives them--
if they would use aright their free agency and seek to overcome
the prince of the power of the air who is none other than the
Devil. We all admit that God has all power in heaven and earth.
He has given to every person that comes upon the earth a portion
of His spirit and power, and told them how to cultivate that faith
which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things
not seen. Then, if a man will have unshaken confidence in God and
in the God-like attributes in themselves, they can command in
their hour of need, and God will have respect unto them.

I concluded that I must have a house and housekeeper, for the way
I had to live was too troublesome.     I had agreed with a young
woman in Vermont to marry her. I had written two or three times
to her, but received no answer, and I concluded she had given up
the bargain and thought she would not go so far from her father
and mother. I wrote a letter to that effect and told her to marry
to suit herself if she could. I would not stand in her way and I
gave up the idea of going back to see her. I went looking about
to see if I could find anyone I liked to keep house for me. I
went down the creek about 10 miles from Abner's to a meeting, and
I got to talking to a young man there and told him what my name
was and where I had my claim, and it was very unhandy for me to go
so far night and morning to work and I needed a woman to keep
house. He said he knew of one he thought I could get and he would
introduce me to her. I stayed with her that night and she seemed
very willing to marry me and wanted to know when I would come
again. I told her I did not know; I had no house of my own and I
didn't know when I would get one. Perhaps in a week or two...I
thought I would go and see her again. I went over to the spring
and was making ready to go to the meeting and see that girl when
here came a person and handed me a letter. I opened it and behold
it was from my sweetheart in Vermont.     She wrote with so much
affection that I sat down and wept freely. She wrote that she was
astonished at the last letter I wrote her--that she had written
three or four letters and I had got none of them--that she had not
changed her mind at all, and had been preparing to go there just
as soon as I thought proper; that she was willing to go into that
country and her folks were willing she should go there. We all
were well acquainted with each other, for we had lived within a
half mile apart for about 10 or 12 years, and had been to the same
school together every winter. I did not go to see Miss Polly Done
and I heard that she was very much disappointed, for she thought
to catch me, and was preparing to keep house for me.

After I got news from Vermont, I went to preparing to go back to
see the folks. I traded off my cow and got a fine year-old mare--
a very smart animal, and got a saddle and bridle, and started
back. There was another young man who went back with me, so I had
company all the way back. He lived in the same county my folks
did and I supposed he was on the same business that I was. It was
about 500 miles and was thought to be quite a long journey in
those days. I found them all well and we were glad to see each
other.   I think it was sometime in Nov. that I got back there.
After resting awhile and visiting the neighbors, we began to think
of getting married and pining for the new country. They have a
custom in those parts of announcing your intentions of marriage.
They must be published three Sundays running before a couple could
be lawfully married. The priest must get up on the stand and cry
aloud, "Marriage intended between, say John Fairbanks and Olive
Fairchild. If anyone has any objection against this marriage, let
them make it manifest or forever hold their peace." It is called
being "cried off". The young couple must be there and stand up
together, so the whole congregation can see them. There was no
one in the congregation who made any objection to me and my
partner getting married, so on the morning of 1 Jan 1812, I made
her mine.

We left for the stern country sometime in Feb.    We arrived at
Uncle Dakes in good shape, but it was along in March before I
could get out on my claim.     I went to and from, doing what I
could, and on the last day of April I took my horse and sleigh,
went to the sawmill and got a load of pitch plank, and the next
morning early I went out to the place.

We had been living at Abner's and Susa's about 7 miles from my
claim. The snow was about a foot deep--and soft. I had made up
my mind to build one room of my house that day. I hauled the logs
and split them, laid them to the height I wanted, put them to the
height I wanted, put on the roof and laid the floor, and got back
to Abner's before dark. When I told them what I had done, they
wanted to know who helped me.    "Not a soul.   I did it myself."
"Aw, go on.   No man living could do it alone in any time, much
less in a single day." "Well," I said, "I have no way of proving
that I did it alone, for nobody was there. But I can prove that
it is done, for tomorrow morning we are going to move in." "If
there was no one with you, the very devils out of hell must have
helped you."   "I did not see them, but if they were there I am
very grateful that they helped instead of hindering as is their

So the next morning we moved into the house-that-Sanford-built-in-
one-day. And right then the War of 1812 was declared and stopped
everything.   Many a home was broken up and families separated--
mine among them.   There came orders for so many soldiers to be
raised out of the ranks of the militia company--either by their
volunteering or draft. Our company was ordered to muster on such
a day at such a place. Our captain got the men placed and called
for so many volunteers, but there was no one who stepped out of
ranks. Our captain said he had to raise so many, and seeing that
they would not volunteer he would have to make out a draft. Our
company was small--I think there were only 7 or 8 called for out
of our company. He had as many tickets as there were men, and as
many forms as there were soldiers called for, and put them into a
hat or box and hustled them all up and thoroughly mixed them up.
The men were to be lined up and walk up and take out a ticket--
being careful and seeing that no man took only one, and did not
look at his ticket nor let anyone else see it until all had drawn.
 Then we were called to come forward and show our ticket. I had
drawn a blank, but there was one Arthur Humphry, the most witty
man that was in that country. He looked sly and saw that he had
drawn a pese (?) and clapped into his mouth and chewed it up and
when we had to show, there was one piece lacking. They looked and
hunted carefully all about. Old Humphry was busy and careful as
anyone, and more so than the rest of us. Well, the captain said
there was a mistake and we would have to draw again.      The next
time we drew I drew a form (?) and got into the army. We would
not have known that it was Humphry but there was a little small
boy that saw his ticket when he held it between his thumb and
finger and saw the mark and saw that he put it in his mouth.

I have passed through many a trial in my life, but leaving my
young wife, my new home, and the joy of seeing my own crops mature
was about the keenest pang I ever endured.

The headquarters of our army was at Black Rock, 4 miles from
Buffalo City, and the harbor for boats and vessels was on Lake
Erie. The people all through the country were a good deal like a
swarm of bees that had been molested and robbed of their honey.
They didn't know where they wanted to go or what they wanted to
do. Neither did I, for I had to check out without either knapsack
or blanket. We all got our guns and ammunition, and little did we
know what would be our fate--life or death--which? There was a
good many of our regiment who lost their lives. I came as near to
losing my life as I could and live. There was a distemper that
got into our army called the cold plague that seized hundreds of
our men, and the doctors had no skill that would cure it. They
would be taken with it and die within 24 hours. They would go to
the hospital and I never knew or heard of one that came out alive.
 We soldiers got it in our heads that the doctors were traitors
and wanted to kill as many as they could. I was taken with it and
our officer said I must got to the hospital. The Ensign of our
company came and told me what the orders were. I told him I would
not go there. I had rather die out where I could have fresh air.
 I asked him to go to the colonel and see if he would not let me
go on parole for a few days. He went and they gave me a parole of
four days. I took and read it. "Could you not get it for longer
than four days?" He said it was as long a time as I would need.
I took my pack and blanket and what belonged to me, and my gun and
cartridge box and bid the Ensign goodbye, and started.

I had a great pain in my head and shoulders, and in fact all over.
 I could not walk very far before I had to sit down and rest. I
walked on 2 or 3 miles and I came to a house. I told the woman
that I was sick and wanted to leave my gun and wanted her man to
keep it until I could come for it. I told her my name . . . I
finally got to Abner's . . . I got my brother-in-law Abner to go
and get some hemlock boughs and boil them, and get up some steam
and keep me there till I could get up some steam. . . I rested
well until daylight. Some of them came to see how I was, but I
could not speak or stir. I could not open or shut my eyes. They
rubbed my hands and arms and gave me some sweetened liquor to
drink. After a while I got so I could move my head. I began to
limber up and in a few days I felt very well again.

As soon as I was    able--about the last of November, we moved back
on our claim. I     had gathered what corn, potatoes, etc. that was
left--got a cow,    and we fared very well that winter. But I had
another streak of   bad luck come early spring.

(In 1871 Sanford made application for a government pension for his
service in the War of 1812. "Territory of Utah, County of Salt
Lake. On this Fourth day of May A. D. one thousand eight hundred
and seventy one personally appeared before me E. W. West, Clerk of
the Probate court, a court of record within and for the Country
and Territory aforesaid Sandford Porter aged Eighty one years, a
resident of Porterville, County of Morgan, Territory of Utah, who
being duly sworn according to law declares that he is married.
That his wife's name was Nancy Warriner to whom he was married on
the 1st day of January 1812 in Vershire, Vermont, that he served
the full period of sixty days in the military service of the
United States in the war of 1812; that he is the identical
Sandford Porter who was drafted in Captain Knott's Company in
Colonel Warren's Regiment in Holland Township, Erie County, New
York in July 1812; that he was honorably discharged (date of
discharge not remembered).   That he at no time during the late
rebellion against the authority of the United States adhered to
the cause of the enemies of the government, giving them aid or
comfort, or exercised the functions of any office whatever under
any authority or pretended authority in hostility to the United
States. And that he will support the Constitution of the United
States; that he is not in receipt of a pension under any previous
act; that he makes this declaration for the purpose of being
placed on the pension roll of the United States under the
provisions of the Act approved February 14, 1871, and he hereby
constitutes and appoints with full power of substitution and
revocation Geo. W. McLellan of Washington D.C. his true and lawful
attorney to prosecute his claim and attain the pension certificate
that may be issued; that his Post Office is at Porterville, County
of Morgan, Territory of Utah; that his domicile or place of abode
is Main Street, Porterville, Morgan County, Utah Territory.
     Elias Smith                Sanford Porter
     Sandford P. Chipman (all names signed)

Also personally appeared Elias Smith residing on North Temple St.,
Salt Lake City and Sandford Chipman residing at Centerville, Utah
Territory, persons whom I personally knew and whom I certify to be
respectable and entitled to credit, & who being by me duly sworn
say they were present and saw Sanford Porter the claimant sign his
name to the foregoing declaration. . .)

(The action by the government is shown by the following notations:
Treasury Department, Third Auditors Office, June 12, 1872.
Respectfully returned to the Commissioner of Pensions with the
information that there are no Rolls of Captain Ezra Nott, Company
of New York Militia, War of 1812, on file in this Office.      The
Rolls were destroyed in the burning of buffalo in January 1814.
Company on service in November and December 1813 and paid on an
estimate by Pay Master Joseph McClure for 1 month and 4 days
service. Allan Rutherford, Auditor.) (On the front of Sanford's
file his name has been spelled "Sandford Porter" and then a line
drawn through it and "Sanford" written above.    Also recorded is
the following:    "Received May 15th 1871" and a note saying,
"Rejected 17 Aug 1872" showing that his claim for pension had not
been granted due to service under the required sixty days.)

(Sanford continues his autobiography) The snow had melted partly
off and I wanted to make some sugar. I made some sap troughs and
tapped some sugar trees and prepared a boiling place. I took fast
hold of a limb and it whirled and the ax came down smart onto my
foot and would have cut it slick off, but the lower corner of the
ax struck a limb and stopped the force of the ax, and left the
lower part and the sole of my boot whole, and it seemed as if I
was going to bleed to death in a short time. I caught hold of a
stick and hollered, and limped on as fast as I possibly could. . .
I saw my wife come out of the house. She had heard me holler. I
tried to walk toward her, but everything began to look dark and I
lay   down on a big log and bid the world farewell and I never
expected to see daylight again. My wife came to me and she got
hold of my foot and held it tight together and it stopped
bleeding. I came to and saw her and thought her face was as white
as a cloth. I got so I could speak and told her not to be scared.
 I saw my foot had stopped bleeding. She ran to the house to get
a cloth to bind up my foot. I took a stick and followed after. I
held up my foot so as to keep it together as much as I could. I
got to the house just as she was coming out.     We went into the
house.   She spread out a quilt and some other things and I lay
down.   She lay the little child (Chauncy Warriner, their first
child) by my side. The child was sleeping. She started to go to
Uncle Dake's to get him to come and fix my foot, and put it
together so as to have it grow together right.     It was 2 miles
from our house to Uncle Dake's. I lay there very still for fear
if I stirred much my foot would start to bleeding. The child lay
still and I was thinking, "Well she has just about got there."
She opened our door and came in.     Said I to her, "Who did you
meet?" She didn't meet anybody. "Well, why didn't you go there?"
 She said she had been there. "What! To Uncle Dake's?" "Yes."
Said I, "You haven't, for it is not possible." She said it was
possible and Uncle and Aunt Dake were coming in all the slop and
slush. "Yes," said I, "your clothes don't look much wet nor shoes
nor stockings."   She pulled off her shoes and there was but a
little water in them. "Why don't you pull off your stockings and
wring the water out?" She said there was none that would wring
out. In about half an hour Uncle and Aunt Dake came. They had on
boots--both of them--that came nearly to their knees, and as full
of water as they could hold and have them walk.      Their clothes
were dripping wet.    "Why," said I, "Nancy's clothes, shoes or
stockings don't appear much wet." "No. because she flew." They
knew she flew because they saw her start from them, and her feet
did not touch the water. They called to her to stop, but she paid
no attention, but kept on flying and soon was out of their sight.
 Her clothes were not muddy like theirs. . This was a mystery to
all of us. We could not solve or comprehend it, try as we would.
 To go 4 miles through slop and slush, mud and water almost knee
deep, and come home dry! It was beyond the bounds of human reason
and partook of the supernatural. It has been said that there is
no effect without a cause, but there have been great effects take
place in this world without any natural cause. It was no natural
cause that caught up the city of Enoch--no natural cause for
Noah's flood--no natural cause for the sea to divide and let the
Israelites through dryshod--no natural cause for Elijah's
translation--no natural cause for Paul's conversion.       Why not
supernatural things now, if there was a crying need, as well as in
times past?   God is the same unchangeable being now as He was
then. Mankind is blest with the same God-like attributes now as
then. We have the same privileges, the same claim on the higher
powers, but without faith coupled with works, there never was and
never will be anything done; and a timid spirit with an easy-going
disposition is not one which can work miracles.     A person must
have a strong determination, be exceedingly anxious, exert all the
powers he possesses with never a doubt but what he can accomplish
it--do not fear.

Uncle Dake set my foot very straight and bound it up nicely. I
was surprised how little pain I suffered with it. I had to get
around and do some things--my wife could not look after the stock
or cut wood, etc. I got all my land planted into corn, potatoes,
beans, oats, etc. and that fall I had a lovely crop of everything.
 Indeed, it looked as though we should be well provided for
another year. But on the 6th of October there came a fierce snow
storm which did not quit until the snow was two feet deep. It was
wet and heavy, and it lodged on the trees and broke off great
limbs and branches, and crushed the bushes. Things were crashing
all around us every which way. Then after this the sun came out
bright and beautiful, smiling as if nothing had happened, and the
snow soon melted with the result that my corn and oats and
potatoes lay flat on the ground in a foot of water. It could not
drain off, for the ground was too level. Before it could dry out
winter would be upon us, and my oats that were to feed my cattle
lay flat on the ground. It was a terrible dismal sight. I stood
there trying to contrive a plan, and an idea hit me. There was a
part of my land where the stumps had not been removed. They were
quite high and close together.    I decided to get poles and lay
them from one stump to another, and take my scythe and reap up the
oats and bind them close to the cuts, and hang them across the
poles with the top down and let them hang there until they got
cured and dry, and in that way I could save my oats--and they
dried first rate. When some of my neighbors learned about what I
had done, they wondered why they had not thought of such an idea
to save their oats. But after all--I lost almost all anyway.

The British and Indians crossed over from Canada and burned
Buffalo City, and the inhabitants fled in terror. I lost all on
my place. Our army was stationed at Buffalo, but fled in fear and
dismay, and scattered every which way. The country was all in an
uproar, and you would see people, some going this way and some
that, with no thought of where they might end. About all that any
of us took was our wearing clothes--some did not even do that.

I had a good span of grey mares not over five years old.      They
were well-matched and made a good team.      They were smart and
lively, but I had to trade them off, for I had no pasture and dare
not turn them loose in the woods, for they would stray off and I
would lose them. I traded one of them to my brother-in-law, Abner
Currier, and got a cow and I think twenty-five bushels of wheat.
The other I traded to a man who lived on the Cattaraugus Creek,
New York for a yoke of four-year-old steers and a year-old heifer.
 The steers had never been yoked and the heifer had never been
milked, and he let me have eight gallons of what they called in
that place, whiskey, but it looked more like buttermilk to me than
it looked like whiskey--but I sold it for a good price--partly
because of the name, and it had some spirit in it, for if a man
drank of it, it would make him feel pretty lively.

Well, we yoked up the steers and made a fine yoke of oxen, but I
had to trade them off, for I could not work them down hauling
logs, and I got for them a steady, well broke yoke of oxen that I
could drive anywhere and haul anything I wanted to. But I did not
keep them long, for I had to flee the country. I came from there
to Oneida County, New York, and about the 1st of January I traded
my land to one Jonathan Cook for land in Oneida.

After we crossed Lake Erie on a bridge a mile long, we felt more
safe, and wondered why we did not keep our heads and bring more
things with us.    We were in a sorry plight.     One man in our
company caught a loose mare, but it cost him so much to feed her
he felt he could not afford it and wanted to sell her. I bought
her for $50.00 and he would wait until I could find work to pay
him.   I wanted to go into Oneida, New York, where my brother,
John, was. I looked about and found some old gear which I bought
for a song--borrowed an ax, and auger, and made a thing which I
called a "jumper."    It carried us and our belongings, and we
started out. We made a very poor show, I can tell you. I felt so
ashamed jogging along that sometimes I felt mad.           We got
accommodations at taverns charge-free, and at the turnpike gate we
got through free on our looks. The way we were rigged out told
our pitiful story better than I could tell it. When we got within
5 miles of John's I was ready to go back.

They are, I suppose, well off and would be glad to help us, but
see how we look. I can't go on! When they last saw me, I had a
good span of grays--well-matched, high-lived and smart; and I was
otherwise well fit out. And I don't dare show up seeing how we
look. They will think I have fooled away my time and squandered
what I had, and now have come back a-begging. "Well," said Nancy,
"let's go on now and see them anyway, and we can rest awhile. I
am sure they would not deny us that.     And whatever they think,
they will have to think. We know what we have done. We can tell
them the truth and make no excuses.   Then if we think it best, we
can go back." "I guess you are right," I admitted. "We'll go on
and pay them a visit anyway--let them think what they will." So I
took my courage, swallowed my pride--but oh how it choked me--and
went on. And oh, what a happy surprise awaited us! How different
the effects from what I had imagined! They had heard that I had
been drafted, and that so many hundreds had died, and feared I was
among them.   They did not know my wife and baby, and that made
them all the more happy to have us there safe and sound,
especially after we told them of the frightful conflagration we
had been through.

I began to get uneasy after a day or two, feeling I must get to
doing something for a living. If I could only go to the store and
get some leather, I could make up a lot of shoes and go back to
the Buffalo country and sell them. I must manage some way to buy
a cow, for we needed one--milk was so high to buy by the quart.
Everything was out of a poor man's reach. War time, and everyone
soaked you for all they could get. . .

In a few days I was ready to go peddling my wares, and I had a
good-looking lot of shoes. I bought $100.00 worth of goods from
Knox, such as: calicos, shawls, handkerchiefs, pins, needles, etc.
Knox said if I wanted $500.00 worth I was as welcome as the $100
and he asked me no security--and me a total stranger.      Why not
security?   Because I was blood kin to the Porters he knew, and
they were known to be very punctual in fulfilling their promises.
 Their word was their bond, and they were extremely careful to
live up to it.    (Whatever you do, don't forfeit your word, for
that means your good name.    Be absolutely dependable. That was
the creed taught them by their parents.)

Well, I got credit on their credit until I could build my own
credit, with I swore would be as good as theirs anywhere in the
world. I finally got off with my load and started to peddle my
wares, swapping some for axes and hogs and many other commodities-
-any way to accommodate the people and myself. It was a paying
trip, and I settled up all the accounts I had left behind me. I
also did quite a lot of work for other people, such as clearing a
few acres of land, hauling logs, and the like, which helped out a
lot.   I bought a cow on the trip for $27.50 (she was a good
milker--gave a common milk bucket full twice in every 24 hours),
and had money left to pay off the bills I had in Oneida.

That winter I made rising of $300, and in the spring I rented land
to plant crops. I was very anxious to get a home of my own, for
we were paying too high rent (a dollar a week was too much for one
small room). I bought a small place with a log house on it, which
was Indian land, and stayed there that summer. But I got good and
sick of my bargain. There was no water at or near the place. A
well could not be dug--at least not this side of 80 feet, which
our neighbor had proved.    I got mighty sick of that place--in
fact, plum discouraged. There was my brother and all my kindred
well off--good farms, good buildings and plenty of everything--
enough to spare. And behold me! What was my situation? I became
swearing mad beyond all description. I paced to and fro, mumbling
my feelings, saying all that was on my mind, and my wife was a
witness.   At last I lifted my right arm up toward the starry
heavens and swore to the Eternal Gods that I would have property
of my own and a good home of my own, or I would die. I knew my
credit was good, and that I could get anything I wanted that
people had to spare. There was plenty to spare in those parts,
and I intended to have my share of it if I could get it by hard
work and fair dealings--and determination.

In order to clear up the debts I had that year, I had to borrow
$3000.00 of Bina Fairbanks.    I wanted him to take whatever he
wanted that I had for security, but he said, "Your word is law to
me, as mine is to you--that is enough."         So I cleared up
everything except the debt on my oxen which I was to pay in cord
wood to David Frost come winter. I called at John's that night,
for I knew he was troubled about me being so much in debt, and I
wanted to relieve his mind.    He was in bed.    His wife, Hulda,
called to him, "Sanford's come." He ran out in his shirt flaps
and said, "What's up, Sanford? Are they after you?" "John," said
I, "Have you got any place I can hide and not be discovered?"
"Oh, then, they are after you!"    I could see I could carry the
joke no further, so I said, "No, John--don't be troubled, for I
owe no man a cent but Bina and Frost, which I shall pay in the
season thereof." I also told him I had traded farms with Bina, so
we could be near them, and John was so overcome he did not know
how to contain himself. He brought forth his bottle and glasses,
and we made merry until morning.

From then on I prospered exceedingly. I made, by economy and hard
work, more than $1500.00 in less than 3 years, besides building up
my home and farm and providing for my family. We were then called
very well-to-do--or well situated, and I had robbed no man,
defrauded no man, cheated no man, and stolen nothing except one
sheep--and that was my own--I knew it was.

One morning I went out to my pasture, which adjoined John Hubb's
place, and one of my sheep was missing, and he had one extra one.
 So I said to John, "You have one of my sheep among yours." (I
would know that sheep by it's countenance anywhere)     "When you
drive them in I will come and get it." "Oh, no you will not come
and get it. I bought that sheep of Wells Rooney." "No, John, you
did not buy that sheep of Wells Rooney."      "I did and I'll be
damned if you shall have it." "Well, I think I shall be damned if
I don't"   Then began a tongue lashing that was not pleasant to
hear--both being hot-headed and fiery.   The next morning I took
some salt in a pan, went to Hubb's pasture and got my sheep, took
it down to the house and butchered it. I looked every few minutes
to see if the Hubbs were stirring, but they showed no signs until
I got it all safely in and out of sight. But that was the most
stealing I ever did, even though I knew the sheep was my own. He
never mentioned that sheep again--nor did I.

I don't know what day in the month it was, but it was in December.
Early one morning I went to the barn to get some oats for my
horses. I got up on the big beam to get the oats that were on the
scaffold over the floor, and there was something black that rose
up from the floor and went to the gable end of the barn and
vanished out of my sight. It surprised me and set me to wondering
what under heaven it could be. I stood and looked at the place
where it disappeared, but could find no living thing there at that
end of the barn.    It had the appearance of a big, long black
overcoat with the end of the sleeves together and the elbows
spread each way. It went right past me and I had as good a chance
to look at it as could be expected. But I could not tell whether
it was cloth or not. I found there was no natural cause for it at
all, and it caused me to shudder and tremble for fear something
was going to happen to some of us. But I got the oats and went
off to the mill and got my grinding done, and brought my grist
home with me. But I thought much of what I saw that morning and
tried to contrive some natural cause, but I could make out no
reasonable natural cause. It was my foundation in those days that
anything that was unnatural or unreasonable I would not believe.
I did not believe in anything supernaturally caused whatever. I
called them fish stories such as Jonah and the whale. I did not
believe any of those unnatural stories. I did not know that there
was so much power in faith, but I have learned quite a different
lesson since those days. I think now there are not many men on
earth that know by experience what power there is in faith.

It was not long before we got word that father was dead, and that
he died such a day in last December, and as near as we could
reason it, it was the same day or the day after that I saw that
frightful sight. Father's death was a very grievous thing to all
of his family, for he was very highly esteemed by his wife and

Then mother was left a widow again, and there was a man by the
name of Hardy that had lost to our world his wife, that Persis,
brother Joseph's wife, was well acquainted with.     She had been
raised in the same neighborhood where Esq. Hardy lived. They got
news back and forward and found out each others situation, and in
a very few months Esq. Hardy paid Persis and mother a visit. They
soon got up a match and got married. Mother moved down to Sharon
(that was the name of the Township that Esq. Hardy lived in and
Persis had been raised).

Well it appeared that mother had got a good home and was well off
for a living in this world, but what of father? The thing that
worried me now was, "Where is my dear father? Has he found what
he expected--a seraphic home where none but God and angels dwell?
Or was he just dead--dead to himself, to us, and to all things
forever?" These thoughts pained my soul. If there was a God as
the ancients declared, why was there so much confusion written in
regard to Him? No, no, there is no God! What part of man could
be a spirit? How could there be a spiritual world? There were so
many churches here--all different in their beliefs, and all of
them can prove they are right by the Bible--and I can prove that
they are all wrong! I am afraid I am what they call an infidel."

The winter father had visited us I had plied him with many
questions in regard to God and the devil, the soul of man, and the
spiritual world.    "Tell me, father, what part of man is the
spirit?" "The breath, I think, for God created man and breathed
into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living
soul." "Why, father, the breath is nothing more than the air we
take in and let out. Air fills the immensity of space, and all
breathe the same air--even the animals and every living thing upon
the earth. That cannot be, father--no, that cannot be! Do you
think that animals and all creeping things, and trees, etc. have
living, immortal souls?" Father was puzzled and worried. Well,
he thought it might be the senses and reasoning powers of man that
was the soul--but it all seemed so vague and unreasonable to me
that I could believe none of it. And the more I talked, read, and
pondered the less I knew; and I could see that I had greatly
disturbed father--perhaps disturbed him with doubt and fear. i So
I finally let up and walked out and plagued him no more. But as I
sat on the step outside, I heard father say to mother, "Sanford is
a strange boy.   I cannot make him out.    I don't know what will
become of him."

I thought much of these things after his death, and wondered if
that black, coffin-shaped thing I had seen in the barn came to
convince me that there was a power living and moving independent
of the natural power of man. And I recalled the time when I saw
Beverly Yates, my playmate, go through the barn and over a pile of
husks 6 feet high, and make no sound, and learned he had died that
day, and we knew not that he was sick.      What did it all mean?
"Oh, God--if there be a God--what is it and why can I not find
out, so that my mind can rest?         I must forget all these
perplexities, and keep my mind on things I can understand. It is
none of my business how we came into being--or why. No man has
ever found out, and maybe never will. If there is such a thing as
a God, no man understands Him, for the thing they call the Bible,
the Word of God, is nothing but a bundle of contradictions brought
together by a bunch of omen whose minds were as chaotic as mine.
I will think of these things no more! No more! No, not at all--
not at all!"

But it seemed I was not to have my way in these things, for people
on every hand were chiding me for not attending church.       Then
there would be more arguments, for I could not refrain from
speaking my mind when people nagged me. And one day there came to
John two Methodist preachers--one by the name of Shepherd (Old
Uncle, they called him)--the other they called Mr. Jackaways.
They came to chide John's wife for being absent from church so
much. She told them John would not let her have a horse to ride,
and refused to take the wagon; and her strength would not permit
her to walk so far. Then they started reproving John for standing
in the way of his wife's religious duties. John said, "My horses
work hard all week. I want them to feed and rest on the Sabbath,
and feel pert to take hold on another week. And they cannot do
that and eat post hay all day Sunday."

Then they begged John to join their church, but John was very hard
in these matters and told them there was nothing to their church
or any other church.    They began to quote scripture to him and
tell him the law and the word of god, and John not being much of a
scriptorian they soon had him whipped--drove him to cover as they
say. John got powerful mad and said, "I wish to God Sanford was
here. If he couldn't knock up your trotters, I'll be damned." "I
truly wish he was here (said Mr. Shepherd). I think Mr. Jackaways
and I could convince him of the truthfulness of our argument."
Just then I knocked at their door--not knowing they had visitors.
 "Welcome, Sanford!" said John. "I want you to show these men a
few things." "What would you have me do?" Shepherd then told me
about their argument, and said he was sure they could convince me
wherein I was wrong.    "I shall be very happy indeed if you can
clear my understanding and convince me of the truthfulness of the
scriptures--this is the Bible which you claim is the word of God."
 Old Uncle Shepherd started quoting scripture. I brought him up a
few times by quoting other parts of scripture which disproved all
that he had tried to prove, and our argument grew very warm
indeed. Finally Mr. Jackaway sided in with me--said he had never
stopped to think out the unreasonableness of the things written in
the Bible, but it seemed to him I was nearer right than Old Uncle-
-nearer right than anything he had ever heard before."

"It may sound unreasonable," said Uncle Shepherd, "but it is all
from the devil. You have advocated ideas that no evangelist ever
thought of, and it is all from the devil." He had been wiggling
and twisting one way and another, and finally jumped up from his
chair and hotly condemned all that I had said. "Tut, tut, tut,
Brother Shepherd. You must be careful or you will prove that you
have a devil. You know we agreed that John and Brother Jackaway
should judge between us.    We three against you--you must agree
that you are wrong."    "Yes," said Jackaway, "you are entirely
wrong Brother Shepherd. Mr. Porter has followed the standard you
set to be governed by, and you must admit that he is the victor."
 "Brother Jackaway, you are from this moment excommunicated from
the church. You are not fit to wear its banners or be a leader or
member therein.    You are an easy prey to the devil, I see."
"Well, gentlemen," said John, "I told you you would get your
trotters all knocked out from under you. And now you are both--or
all--lighting mad at each other. Come, let us drink of the glass,
and away with anger. Let us partake of the spirits that maketh
light and merry."    He drank, I drank, Mr. Jackaway drank, but
Uncle Shepherd would have none of it.    He would not settle the
dispute that way; so they left.

I have since learned, of course, that we were all wrong. We were
in a dark chamber and could find no window or door that would
admit light--groping in darkness--terrible darkness.    Those were
the days of witchcraft and dreams and apparitions--all of which I
think was necessary to prepare men for the light that was to come.
 There is still darkness on the earth and in the minds of men, but
nothing to compare with the gross darkness that existed before the
advent of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.     The Gospel had diffused
light and warmth upon the earth, and to some extent all men are
partakers of it, but they do not realize it.

I had quite an experience when I was a chap thirteen, just after
that sick spell when I lay so long on my bed--deathbed as they
supposed. I was at a Baptist meeting one Sunday. and the preacher
got so wrought up in his sermon that he got some to weeping and
some to exhorting others to come into the fold, etc. There was
quite a lot of youngsters there beside me, and one boy got so
excited he got up and told an experience he had had. The preacher
complimented him on it, and asked me if I'd had some experience I
could tell that would help others to see the light.

"No, I have never had any such experience, but I could tell a
dream I had one time. I dreamed I died and went to heaven, and
the first thing I saw was a long table set in the middle of a room
with seats all around it--and it was set with the most beautiful
dishes I ever saw--so transparent they were almost invisible.
There was some food in some of them, but I couldn't tell what it
was, because it was so different to anything I had seen.         I
thought some looked like honey in the comb--only it was too white
and clear. Some of it looked like biscuit, as white and light as
snow; and there was something in the glasses to drink that was so
thin and clear you could hardly tell whether it really was there
or not.   And the countenances of the people who sat around the
table were like shafts of light. Their robes or dresses were so
white and airy-looking and clean that they were dazzling. I drew
afar off, for my homespun clothes looked so coarse and plain and
ugly and dirty I was ashamed."

The preacher thought we did uncommonly well, and said it was our
duty to be baptized. So we were, and were given the right hand of
fellowship. From that time on I was in inveterate searcher of the
Bible. I began early to compare the Apostolic churches with the
Baptist and other churches, and they all lacked one essential
thing--but what was that thing? I thought all their churches and
ministers were just as deep in the mud as I was in the mire; and
they thought I was an imaginary cuss because I had seen a few
things they hadn't that bordered on the supernatural--and me, an

One thing in the Bible troubled me a lot. It called on sinners
everywhere to repent and be baptized, and to love God with all
their heart, might, mind and strength, and their neighbor as
themselves. I thought, "If there is a sinner in this world, it is
me, for if there is a God, I do not love Him. I do not love my
neighbor--or even my brother--as myself, and I certainly do not
love my enemy." And I was doubtful if there was a man living who
loved his enemy. For all men that I had ever known or seen would
talk unkindly, even wickedly, of better people than themselves if
they got it "in" for them--and I had never seen or even heard or
read of any person, people or nation that loved their enemies.
Therefore all mankind were sinners.

What should I do?      How could I bring myself in harmony or
subjection to these things? For me there was no God--and as for a
devil, there certainly was not any--only as they call evil in men.
 So I worried by night and by day for many years, and got no ray
of light. And I would think of my father--how his soul--if there
was such a thing--must be troubled because of me. These thoughts
did bear great weight upon me, and my soul did suffer greater
sufferings than the body could know. What in the world could I do
to get relief? I got so I could neither eat, drink nor sleep. I
would spread my arms and raise my hands on high crying aloud, "Oh
gracious God--if there be a God--show me the way, the right way."
All day I would walk in the barn, and all night in the house. I
spoke to no one--nor they to me--not even my wife and children. I
guess they thought I was stark mad, and I doubted my own senses.
I did not eat, drink nor sleep for three days and nights, and was
neither hungry, dry nor sleepy.     The last night there came a
Voice--clear, audible, and distinct, "There is a God, and He has
known the desires of your heart this number of years.       I will
instruct you three times this night the way that is right--that
you need never again doubt, but shall be satisfied in your mind
concerning God."

The Voice ceased, but I could see no one from whom it could have
come.   I had a thought: the outside door did not close tight--
there was quite a crack at the top, and I concluded that someone
of those professors of religion had by some means found out I was
much troubled and concerned in my mind about religion, and had
rode up to the door, and sitting on the horse, had put their mouth
to the crack and said those words.     I grabbed a club and went
forth to find that person and give him a good pounding--yet be
careful not to kill him.      A thorough search of the premises
revealed nothing, so I went back and sat down by the fireplace
with my hands over my eyes and waited and waited, but no Voice.

Finally I lay down beside my wife and covered my eyes, and I was
gone like a flash--to sleep?    I know not.   But I heard and saw
many things that gave me satisfaction. I thought I stood on the
barn floor near the south door, and a personage came in at the
north door and advanced toward me. He was dressed in a long white
robe with a red sash about his waist that came down within a foot
of the bottom of his raiment. His cap was white with horn-like
things about five inches high--a very odd-looking fellow to me. I
had forgotten all that had taken place before, so was surprised to
see such a personage in my barn--but I had no fear, and went with
outstretched hand to greet him. "I am a spirit; you cannot touch
me. Come, let's be gone."

At the sound of his voice I recalled the promise, and was filled
with joy. We did not travel by our own power or effort. We went
light, airy, and swift. And when we landed, we seemed to alight
on a railing. I cast my eyes about and it seemed to me I could
see for thousands and thousands of miles. It seemed to be a world
of unbounded space. I asked, "Is this the Spirit World?" "Yes."
 "Where is God?   Is He not here?    I see now the darkness under
which I have been laboring all my life. There are other things
      I would like to know, if it is your pleasure to grant my
request: firstly, "Was Jesus Christ the son of the great eternal
God?"   "Yes, He was and is the son of God--both temporally and
spiritually.   Temporally He became heir to the weakness of the
flesh; spiritually He is heir to all the attributes of God. But
the divine qualities of the Father predominated over the weakness
of the mother or the flesh.    He was delicately constructed, and
was more sensitive to pain than any other man living--then or

"Thank you my kind heavenly friend for this information concerning
Jesus Christ. I thank the eternal Father of spirits for sending
you to instruct me on this subject, for it has been a stumbling
block to me and a rock of offense. I have talked to learned men
about it, and I have searched the scriptures, and could get no
satisfaction. All seemed so contrary to nature. I do hope and
pray that God and Jesus Christ will forgive me, for I have
belittled. . . Mary. . . and her son, Jesus. . . I understand now,
also, how the male and female are one and cannot be separated. .

"Now," said the personage, "I will enlighten you further on the
scripture--or the Bible.    Those parts that were given to the
prophets of God through revelation are the Word of God unto men
and are strictly true. Other parts that were written by honest,
just men are as nigh unto the truth as they understood the truth.
 The men who have been instrumental in translating the book from
one language into another were not strictly honest. They altered
passages of scripture to suit their own convenience. Many plain
and precious parts they left out, and other parts they destroyed,
so the Bible is not as plain and understandable as in ancient
times. But there is still enough truth contained therein for the
present use and salvation of man, if it is read and understood by
the spirit and power of God."

"Is there a hell or place of torment prepared where the ungodly
are punished?"   "If you will look yonder into the north country
your question will be answered, I think, to your satisfaction." I
turned and saw away in the distance a dreary, dismal, cold-looking
world upon which was a vast multitude of people that no living man
could number, and the condition they were in was beyond the power
of man to describe; and it pained my inners and filled my soul
with anguish to see them--I seemed to be fascinated by the sight.

"Gracious God, what sins have they committed that justice should
demand such an awful punishment?"    "If you will cast your eyes
about you, you will see that all are not suffering to such an
extent. They must suffer only as they have sinned in the flesh."
"Will they ever be redeemed from that awful misery?"         "When
justice is satisfied, mercy will have her claim." "Is that what
they call Hell? I did not see any devils with pitchforks or the
lake of fire and brimstone into which they pitch the wicked."
"You must agree that is a good comparison, but it is not literally
true.   The devil has nothing to do with the punishment of man
after he leaves the body.    It is their own mind and conscience
that torment men.     They have transgressed the law--they have
defied God and esteemed Him as naught--and the wages of sin are
spiritual death." "I have heard it said by eminent divines that
if a child die in infancy, it is doomed to hell. Is that a fact?"
 "No, emphatically no! Any man who says there are infants in hell
is a liar. It is to say the Christ made no atonement for original
sin, and that all His sufferings and death are in vain."

"Are there any churches or denomination on the earth at the
present time that are right and pleasing to God?" "No, none of
them is right. Jesus Christ organized His Church with apostles,
who were prophets, and they declared many things that would come
upon the earth. They spoke of a time when the Church of God would
come upon the earth again, which time is shortly ripe. You may
not live to see it, but your children certainly will, and if you
will humble yourself and repent of all your sins and blasphemies,
you will be forgiven and will rejoice in the goodness and grace of
God in all y our days. Deal justly and honestly with all mankind.
 Acknowledge the truth whether it be for or against you. Cease to
complain. Cultivate love for God and man. Speak the truth--and
the whole truth--whether it be for or against you, and your rest
will be sweet. Come, let us be gone."

And in an instant we were back on the barn floor. Then I opened
my eyes, and I was still lying as I had been with my eyes covered.
 I told my wife during the day some of the things I had seen and
heard, and she seemed interested. "But it may have been only a
dream, and you know you have laughed at dreams--even told people
that if a dog could talk, he would likely tell as beautiful dreams
as any person; and this may be nothing more than an ordinary dream
of an overwrought mind."    "Well, you get the Bible, and I will
tell you the chapter and verse of such and such books, and I will
rehearse it to you just as the ANGEL did to me from Genesis to
Revelation!" "But that would be no proof, Sanford, for you know
the Bible off by heart. Still, you may have forgotten it all, for
I know you have not looked at that book for many years. If you
repeat everything correctly, I shall believe it was a vision."
When she told me I had read those verses as though I had the Bible
before me, I jumped up, grabbed my hat, and stepped out onto the
"Are you leaving?" inquired my wife.    "Yes, I am going over to
Deacon Pond's and tell him what I have seen and heard, and see
what he thinks about it." "Don't you think you had better wash up
first? Your face looks dirty. And you had better have a bite to
eat, for you have tasted no food these three days; you must be
faint and hungry." "No, I am neither faint nor hungry, but I am
dirty, so I will wash up and change my clothes." Then I went to
the Deacon's saw mill, and found him there. I told him I wanted
to talk with him for a while if he weren't too busy. We sat down,
and I told him of the disquietude of my mind for these many years-
-and of the anguish of spirit I had suffered--of my long fast, and
of my vision.   We talked all day until sundown.    Neither of us
noticed that the mill was not running and that about 20 men had
gathered around to listen to our conversation. When all was told,
I asked him what he thought about it. He replied, "I am deeply
impressed. Go home and write it all down, lest you forget it; and
I want to read it--perhaps many times." This took place in the
spring of 1816--March 18 if I remember right.

When I went into the barn, my father's coffin would come in my
mind, and that angel of light would seem to appear. I got so I
was almost afraid to go in the barn. I could not bear to stay on
the place, and I sold out my farm to my brother, John. He wanted
to get a place for his son-in-law by the name of Rodney Lewis. He
had married Hulda Porter, one of John's daughters, and she was
blind--and John wanted to have them live near by him.

After I sold out to John I went to the west ridge 5 or 6 miles off
and bought a farm and moved on to it, and lived there that summer.
 My brother, Joseph, came in the fall from the state of Vermont,
for he said he felt very lonesome since father died, and my wife
wanted to see her people.    Joseph said if I would move back to
Vermont he would let me have the old homestead father had had. He
had land enough without it. We moved up, after a few months at
the mill. I found that I was too weak to haul the sacks of grain.
 The doctor said I had quick consumption. I rented out the mill.

My brother, John, came from New York state--he and his wife to
make us a visit, and they wanted me to go back with them. They
thought it would be good for my health.    After we had got over
that high mountain, we soon came into New York state. We came to
a ditch where the rocks were white with lime. I was very dry and
took a good drink of water, and I could perceive that I felt
better than I had felt for a long time. By the time I had got to
John's I felt right smart and well. John wanted me to move back
again. I said I would if I could sell my mill and buildings in
Vermont.   He said he would swap with me and let me have my old
place back, and let Rodney have the mill in Vermont. Rodney was
very willing. I went to Vermont and got my family and moved back.
  John was highly pleased to have me back, but our friendship was
of a short duration. He and his wife went on a visit down to Old
Brimfield about 100 miles to see some kin, and he was taken sick
and died. They said they would write to us when they got there,
but no letter came, and we thought it was strange.

One night I went into a trance and my spirit went down as if going
past John's house.    Then, I saw a wagon covered with a black
oilcloth cover, and a white horse standing by it. I heard John's
girls crying and screaming, "Oh father, father, can it be that
father is dead?" My spirit went into the home. There was John's
wife dressed in mourning--weeping with the girls. She said that
John was dead and buried in Old Brimfield. I asked her what was
the cause of his death. She said they took a pleasure trip down
by the seaside and John went in the water, and bathed and washed
himself and drank some of the salt water, and was taken sick, and
was not able to drive the horses.      I wanted to know what had
become of the horses and wagon they went away with.       She said
John's brother, Nathan, had traded them off to pay for the doctor
and for the coffin.

As quick as thought I came out of the trance.    Said I, "Nancy,
John is dead--have they got a letter from him?" "No," said Nancy,
"I have been down there." I thought I would go down there in the
morning and tell the girls. I told them I had had a vision and
that their father was dead, and that Susan would be home without
him with a wagon covered with black--and a white horse.      They
fairly laughed me to scorn. They said they didn't care about my
dreams. They didn't believe but that he would come back as well
as he went away. They jumped and danced about the house as if the
devil was in them. I suppose they thought to cheer me, for I was
in deep mourning.

I was going to the store in a few days, and then I saw the wagon
and the white horse that I saw in the vision. I went to the house
and the girls were screaming and saying, "Father, father, can it
be that father is dead?" I told Susan all the particulars of my
vision and she said, "I declare, you have told the truth.      You
could not have told my story better if you had been on the journey
with us."

Nathan was with her. Nathan said he and his wife had parted and
she had gone to the state of Ohio, and taken their children, and
that he was broken up and had no family--and hadn't had for 3 or 4
years. John died without making any will concerning his property.
 The girls were willing to let the widow have all she brought
there.   She brought nothing, but her clothes and trunk. "Don't
you think," I asked, "that your father would have willed her more
than that if he had made a will before he died?" They said they
didn't know what his will could have said about it.

I went home and could not help but think of John and his affairs.
 I went into the bedroom and lay down and I cried to the God of
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to let me go see my brother, John.
Immediately I was in a trance and there came an angel from the
spirit world and told me that God had heard my prayers and he was
sent to tell me I might go and see my brother and learn what his
will was concerning his widow and the girls. The spirit vanished
and my spirit took its flight to the spirit world. John was in a
darkish, dreary-looking place in an old dilapidated cabin. I told
him I had been permitted to come and see him, and see what his
will was concerning Susan and the girls. "Well," said John, "you
tell the girls it is my will that Susan should have a good
comfortable living.    Tell them to let her have the northwest
square room to live in, a good bed and bedding, and all that she
needs to make her comfortable. She has been a kind mother; now
let them be kind to her. Tell Susan and the girls not to be too
much worried about getting gain while on earth, for all things
upon the earth are perishable, and pass away."      "Well, Brother
John, what is your situation in this spirit world?" He said he
was in a dark dismal place, but he must bear it as best he could,
because justice was done, and he could not find any fault. "Do
you think you will ever be any better off?"       He did not know
anything about it. I took my flight back to my body.

I told my wife and Susan I had had a vision and what John's will
concerning them was. My wife told people she knew it was true as
the sun shines.   I went and told the girls what I had seen and
heard--that Susan was to have it unless she married again. Things
went very well for a few weeks, but Nathan flattered up Susan and
they went off and got married. Then she had no more right to the

I told Nathan if I could sell out I would, and go to some other
country, and get out of sight of John's house.      I knew he had
worked hard for what he had got, and it troubled me to see some
other men would get the benefits of his labors. Nathan said he
would trade with me, and buy my farm--and he had wild timber land
in Ohio.   We made a bargain, and I settled up my affairs and
prepared to move to the state of Ohio.     We started sometime in
February. I found the land--what I could see of it, but the most
of it was covered with water and it looked like a bog. I found it
was not such land as Nathan had described as being mostly ash and
chestnut lumber. I worked hard that summer, but thought I could
never raise bread on it to support my family. I cried again to
God to let me know what was best to be done, and immediately I was
in a trance and in a vision. A messenger was sent from the spirit
world to tell me what was best for me to do. He informed me that
I had better sell the place I was on, for it was too hard a place
for a man to support a family. He said I had better go to the
state of Illinois--not far from Lake Peoria--what was called Fort
Clark. He vanished from out of my sight. In selling the land I
had to take it to a high court of Justice. There was quite some

Nathan Porter came to my place from New York state for fear of his
life, for someone had threatened to kill him.      He said he had
accounts against some men, and they had accounts against him, and
they were such a set of rascals he could not settle his accounts
and he wanted to have me go back with him to help settle up his
affairs and help him move to the state of Ohio.      I told him I
would go back with him, and help him out of that scrape. We got
back and I took his accounts and went and settled up his debts. I
had no trouble with anyone at all.     Nathan and Susan rode back
with me to Ohio in a wagon.

It was but a few days before my wife laid in with a little
daughter (Nancy Areta Porter, born 8 Aug 1825), It was a time of
sickness with little infants and children. They would be taken
with what was called croup or rattles, and choke and turn purple,
for they were so filled with phlegm they couldn't breathe. There
were many that died. The doctors could not save them. Our little
baby was taken with it. They wanted me to send for a doctor. I
said I would not. I went up to the old widow Johnson's and got
her to nurse the child. She gave the child a dose of lobia (?).
The child was then almost black, but the lobia moved the phlegm so
the child could breathe more easy. The fever was very high. I
fed it with cold water until the fever abated.      Soon the child
began to choke again, and turned purple.     Mr. Johnson fixed it
lobia again until it could breathe. She was the only child that
was heard of that had distemper that young and lived. We called
her name Nancy, so as to bear up her mother's name.

I hired a man to help move us to Peoria country. I rented about
10 acres of plain land off of a widow. Chauncy W., my oldest son,
was about 12 years old. He could plow the ground, for the man was
very handy.   He could plow without any driver. He plowed and we

(Adventuring into Illinois--just after they crossed the Wabash
into the new state)     We stopped at Farm Creek, and Mr. Clark
bought a farm there.   I did not like it there very well, for I
could see that many farms were deserted on account of that creek
getting wicked in the spring, and piling heaps of wood and deep
sand on the farms after the crops had been up several inches. So
I went farther up onto the edge of the prairie and found a place
that pleased me very well--about 40 acres covered with beautiful
white oak--thrifty and good sized with a good road running from
the Wabash to Port Clark, now called Peoria.

I moved my family up there, and once more we went to clearing land
and making logs to build a house, a barn, pig sty and other
things--to plow again and to plant--and to reap and get ready for
winter. We had plenty of work to do--and then some. I got Morris
Phelps to help me, and Chauncey W., my boy, now coming of 13 was a
smart lad at everything, so we three made good progress, and by
winter time we were quite comfortable. Morris built him a tavern
to accommodate travelers, and there was much travel on that road
summer and winter. He charged heavy for every accommodation, and
some of the people could not pay. They began stopping at my place
for something to eat, etc., and I would charge them nothing.
Finally Morris came to me complaining.

I said, "I don't charge certain people for what they get here.
They are poor, and I will not feel into their pockets for the last
dime they have. I will follow the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as
you would that they should do unto you" under the same
circumstances. "Well," said he, "I am going to follow the silver
rule, and get all I can lawfully from any and all of them."

After we had been here a while, Morris and I thought we would go
in partners and build a saw mill--each standing half of the
expense, and sharing half the profits. There were but two mills
in an area of 30 or 40 miles. We saw no reason why we should not
pick up a good business. The country was settling up fast, and
all the newcomers would all need lumber and such to build their
homes. Everything went along fine until it came time to make the
water wheel. Leon Sheegar was the millwright, and a very clever
one he was--a quick workman, a good disposition, and not
extravagant in his wages--and not difficult to pay. He would take
anything we had that he could use or dispose of. Morris told him
to make the wheel 6 or 7 feet long and 3 1/2 across. He said it
would have to have as much power as if it was the whole width of
the flume. Sheegar told him that would never do, and tried every
way to reason him out of it, but Phelps was a conceited man and
would have his own way, no matter what professor he might argue

Sheegar said to me, "I hate to build that wheel; it will be time
and money thrown away to the birds." "Go ahead and do it, and you
shall get your pay if I have to pay it all myself.      It may be
worth it to teach him a lesson." When it was all ready, Morris
rolled a log about a foot through onto the carriage, hoisted the
gate, and let the water in as big as you please. She ran up quick
enough, but when she came down and hit the wheel, she stopped.
The wheel would not turn fast enough to even start the saw. Well,
Morris worked at that thing until he got tired out, red in the
face, and sweating all over--then quit, cursing the mill, and the
water and the expense, and everything but the real cause--but
himself.   The air was so blue from the fire of his cursing you
could imagine the mill was aflame. He told me I could have the
damned thing if I would take over the debts he was owing.     "If
your debts aren't more than your half or share, I will take them
over for you, provided your creditors are willing to take me as
paymaster." That man would go in debt for good and fancy clothes,
just as long as people would trust him. I told him I would never
ask any living man for one dollar trust unless we hadn't a crumb
in the house to eat. I would buy land and that which I thought I
could pay for, and if I failed there was still the land with all
the improvements I had made that could be turned back.     But no
debts for me if there wasn't a sure way out.

A man by the name of Camalin owned one of the mills I have spoken
of, and when spring came, he went to Peoria and told all the
merchants and everyone I was owing--on account of taking over
Morris' debts--that they would never get a penny out of me, for as
soon as the snow started melting, the water would come down so
fast that every inch of my mill would go down stream. I heard of
this--went over to Peoria, and told my creditors not to worry
about what I owed them until they heard my mill had gone out--then
they could set the law on me. Well, I sawed enough lumber between
the first of April and the middle of June to settle up everything
I owed, and some to spare. I stepped out of the house one morning
to go to the mill, and met two strange men. We Passed the time of
day, and one of them handed me a letter--sealed. I opened it and
found it was from Morris Phelps who then lived on the Dupage about
30 miles from Chicago.

"My friend tells me you are preachers of a new profession.      We
will walk into the house, gentlemen."    I bade them remove their
knapsacks and be seated, and asked if they had been to breakfast.
 They had not.    I then told my women folk to prepare a good
breakfast for these gentlemen, and asked them to excuse me while I
went to the mill to see how the boys were coming on with the work,
and said I would soon be back.

My son, Chauncey, had learned remarkably well and fast how to
handle logs, mind the saw, sharpen it, and in fact, the order of
everything pertaining to the mill. He had outstanding gifts along
that line and many others.    I told the boys respecting the new
preachers, and that I must go to them, so they must watch very
close that which they did.

Morris told me in his letter that these men had been preaching in
their neighborhood, and had set the Methodist, Baptist, and every
other religious profession in an uproar, and he wanted me to
search them to the bottom and find out if possible what their
belief was, and write him my conclusion. I went back to the house
and said, "Well, gentlemen, I am ready to hear you expound your

They told me that they had a prophet, seer and revelator--that
they had apostles, and that their church was organized just as the
ancient church of Christ was organized; that they had the same
gifts, the same power to heal the sick and to cast out devils, the
power to ordain every male member to the Priesthood, and that
these men were given authority to preach their gospel to every
nation, and kindred, tongue and people.    If people believed and
repented of their sins, the elders of their church were commanded
to baptize them by immersion in water, and to lay their hands upon
their heads, and bestow upon them the gift of the Holy Ghost which
would        lead        them        into        all        truth.
As they talked, I surely prayed in my heart that what they were
telling me was true!    They showed me a new book they had with
them, and explained where and how it was obtained.    I took the
book, and together we searched it.   For three days and nights--
almost without sleep, we searched it.    I asked them what their
interpretation was to many passages of scripture. About daylight
of the third night I told them I had asked all the questions I
could think of, and they wanted to know what I thought of their

"If you have told me all the truth, gentlemen--and I have not the
least doubt of it--your church is the right church and the only
one on the face of the whole earth." I knew, for a personage from
another world had told me that all mankind had transgressed the
laws of God, changed the ordinances of the gospel, and broken the
everlasting covenant--and I had been commanded to join none of
them. for they preached for hire and the adulation of men. And I
thought that of all the crafts on earth, priestcraft was the most
rotten and deceptive. They tell the people there is no need of
prophets or visions or revelations these days; that we have a
Bible, and when that was given to man, the Canon of Scripture was
closed.   (And you can prove anything, right or wrong, from the

"Yes, the things of God must be read by the Spirit of God or all
is confusion." the preachers agreed. I would like to advance my
theory or belief a little further. I have read from the Koran,
the Mohammed Bible, that gives an account of a race of people that
lived 3000 years before Adam. And it appears by what is written
in the Bible concerning Cain (after he slew his brother, Abel), he
fled (after God had cursed him) to a distant land away eastward of
Eden--which was called the land of Nod. The flood cleansed the
earth of all humanity except that of the lineage of Adam.

They (the promulgators of priestcraft) say that any man claiming
to have had a vision is a liar, a blasphemer, a dreamer, and a
hypocrite. I had a vision, and I know I had a vision, and they
called me all those things, and will not have any thing to do with
me--nor I with them. They, the elders of this new church, tried
to persuade me to join their church and be baptized, but I told
them it was not good to make haste, but should take your time to
I would reflect upon it, and if my belief and faith strengthened
after further consideration, I would join.    "I already believe,
for this book you have presented me brings a message I have long
believed--that this continent was inhabited before the Indians
came here, because many things have been picked up and found that
somewhat resemble some of our tools, and suggest a civilized
people. So I see no reason why this Book of Mormon, as you call
it, is not genuine and true.     The angel told me there was no
society of religion on earth that was right, but that there would
be some time soon--that I might not live to see it, but my
children would.   Well, I believe I have lived to see it, but I
must know     before I join. There is one other thing you have
mentioned that I cannot make out how it can be done. That is--the
people who join your church must give up all their property into
the hands of the leaders that it may be divided so as to make all
equal--that is--all property shall become common stock.       That
would do very well if everyone who joins the church were honest
and righteous. But since you are commanded to preach the Gospel
to all kindred, tongue and people, I think the gospel net will
gather out all sorts of fish--good and bad and indifferent. You
will be taking therefore the earnings of honest men to support the
shiftless, the idle, the lazy loafers of whom even the Gods
(Part II of the History of Sanford Porter, Sr. was submitted by
Nellie Hansen and Veda Mortimer. The writer tried to locate the
original manuscript before going to press, but was unsuccessful.
A note from Lysander Leroy Porter of Hatch, Utah states: "My
father, Francis Lysander Porter, had his grandfather Sanford's
history when he came home from 'the underground' in 1888. I was 9
years old."   The writer will follow the manuscript submitted by
Mrs. Nellie Hansen as it is more complete in many places.)

My grandfather's name is Timothy Porter, who was born at Hartford,
CT, U.S.A. in 1745. My mother's name was Susanna West Porter.

I was born in Brimfield, 7 Mar 1790. My parents moved to Orange
County, Vermont, in the year 1798. I lived with my parents until
1810, when I set out for Western New York, about 30 miles
southeast of Buffalo. There I spent a year opening up a farm, and
preparing a home.    The next three months I spent visiting my
parents, brothers, and sisters in Vermont. While there, I married
Miss Nancy Warriner, daughter of Ruben and Sarah Colton Warriner.
 We were married i Jan 1812. We soon returned to Holland, Erie
County, New York.    Shortly after our return, the War of 1812
began, and I was drafted into the American Army, and during my
absence, my eldest son was born, 12 Oct 1812, at Holland, Erie,

I was allowed a furlough in 1814, and shortly after my return, the
burning of Buffalo by the British and Indians took place. This
caused considerable excitement in the surrounding country, and in
order to be out of the line of danger to life and property, we
moved to Oneida County, about 180 miles eastward, and there I
opened up another farm, and we lived there until 1818. In that
year, I rented my farm, and we moved back to our old home in
Vermont where I bought another farm, selling my home in New York.

We did not remain long at the old home town, but sold and moved
again to New York, settling at Augusta, Oneida, New York--
remaining there until 1823, when I again sold--moving this time to
Liberty, Trumbull, Ohio. During our stay at Liberty, two children
were born--Sanford and Nancy Areta. We now had 7 children in the
family. In 1827, we again sold our all--this time for the purpose
of journeying toward the land of the setting sun, to the fertile
country of the Illinois, in company of a Mr. John Morgan.       We
constructed a flat boat, which we launched on the Mahoning River,
not far from our home at Liberty. Loading it with our effects, we
floated down the Mahoning, then into the Beaver, then into and
down the Ohio. This journey was fraught with danger and adventure
as the country was wild and uninhabited--but our first danger was
going over the falls of the Beaver River some distance above its
confluence with the Ohio.    As we neared the Falls, we drew to
shore, and disembarked all the women and children--in fact all
except Mr. Morgan and two pilots, leaving them with the boat, and
the rest followed down the stream, watching the boat with intense
interest as it drew near the suck which plunged it over the falls.
 For a few moments, we thought all was lost, but she soon came in
sight, right side up, and no material damage was done.

On 4 May 1827, we disembarked near Evansville, Indiana, and we
rented a farm of a Mr. Gentry, and planted a crop, after which I
took very sick, and for a while my life was despaired of, but at
length, I began to mend and became strong enough to teach school
that winter.   Then in March, 1828, we again took up our march
toward Illinois. The wagon we hauled our belongings in, although
common in those pioneer days, would seem very novel in the
construction at the present time. It was built in the form of a
truck, the wheels being made of pine logs, morticed together with
a large hole through the axle for the linch pin. We used tallow
for wagon grease. With this rude construction, drawn by two yoke
of oxen, we traveled northwest from Evansville, crossing the
Wabash River into Illinois.    We had very stormy weather as is
usual in that part of the country in early spring. One night we
spent in the hollow base of a large tree, finding protection from
the cold wind, with a fair degree of comfort. After crossing the
Wabash, we were joined by a Mr. Baldwin Clark and family who had
made previous arrangements to join our company when we should
reach that point.    Thus, we pursued our journey into Tazewell
county, Illinois. As we journeyed on, we were filled with wonder
and admiration at the beautiful country lying before us as far as
the eye could see--covered with luxuriant growth of natural
vegetation.   We journeyed on, crossing the Sangamon River, and
arriving at our destination some time in June. We camped about
three miles from the Illinois River, and Peoria up the River about
8 miles on the west bank of the Tazewell River.

After exploring the country with a Mr. Morris Phelps, we took up a
farm about three miles east of the town. Although in a fertile
country, we had many perplexities to meet, as is the case in a new
country.    Everything must be made at home--utensils, farming
implements, shoes, clothing, etc.       We had to work of the
principle: if you want anything, make it--and few tools to work
with.   There was no school that the small children could reach.
But with all, we prospered and had plenty to eat and wear.

In the second year of our residence in the new country, the Black
Hawk War broke out, and many white people had to go into the army,
and excitement ran high for a while, but the war proved of short
duration as a treaty was made, and peace was restored to the
people of Illinois.

About the year 1829, I and Morris Phelps, and John Cooper
commenced the creation of a saw mill on Farm Creek, about three
miles from my home.   But before the mill was put in successful
operation, I and my two sons purchased the interests of the other
two parties, but finding it difficult to run both farm and mill,
we sold our farm, and moved to the mill, where we resided til

It was while living at the mill on Farm Creek that we became
converted to the Mormon faith--joining the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints in the month of July 1830 (this date could
not be correct as the missionaries were not in Illinois in 1830.
The Porterville Ward records show his baptism date as 10 Aug
1831). We were converted and baptized by Lyman Wight and John
Corrill, men well known in early church history.         Those two
Elders visited the country in the early part of the year.

Perhaps a sketch of my religious tendencies in my early manhood,
and before being converted to the Mormon faith may be interesting
to some of my descendants. Although my children and grandchildren
are most all religiously inclined, I am inclined to think they did
not inherit it from their grandfather.      Prior to a few years
before I joined the Mormon Church, I was very near, if not quite,
an atheist or infidel. I believed in what I could see and feel
and hear, and maintained that there was no life after death. I
looked upon all churches as a scheme of ministers to make an easy
living by plying their trade on the minds of the ignorant, and
weakminded. But about the time Mormonism was revealed--though I
had heard nothing of it at that time, I became disturbed in my
mind, and something was telling me there was a God and a life
after death.   I pondered upon it, then tried to put it from my
mind, but it would not leave me. I did not speak of it to anyone-
-nor could I satisfy my own mind as to any cause why I should be
thus disturbed in my ideas of atheism. But I realized that some
unseen power was holding a stubborn argument with me upon the
existence of a God, and a life after death; and I became so much
disturbed as to break my rest.       While at work, it would be
continually on my mind, and after my family were all asleep, I
would get up and walk the floor, and at last I came to the point
of extreme, and I spoke out in an audible voice and said, "Oh! Is
there a God? If so, may I know the way that is right?"

And then I was answered by an audible voice which said, "There is
a God, and three times this night thou shalt know the way that is
right, and thou shalt doubt no more." The voice was a mild one,
but it went through me like a shock, and I trembled in every limb,
but in a few minutes, I gathered myself, and I thought someone had
learned of my state of mind and had been standing at the door and
heard me speak, and had answered me in these words, thinking I
would believe it was a supernatural being that had spoken. So I
opened the door. A light snow had fallen, then cleared away. It
was light enough so anyone could be tracked, but a track of
anything could not be seen.     So I went back into the house,
thinking someone may have gotten into the house and sprung a trick
on me.   Then I lit a candle and made a thorough search, but I
found no one, so I seated myself before the fire to await
developments.   I knew I heard an audible voice, and understood
plainly the words "three times this night," and it filled me with
fear to hear it again, that I might be overcome, but I waited a
while and all was quiet, so I thought I would lie down, and rest
while I waited. But my head had no sooner touched the pillow than
I was caught away from things of the earth. Whether I was in the
body or out of the body, I could not tell, but I felt of myself
and said, "It is no dream. I am awake." But a guide was with me,
and we passed through a cloud of darkness.     Then we came to a
world of light, and the light surpassed the light of the large
body of light. The body of light reached up so high I could not
see the top, but close around the large body of light were many
people, and they were all bowing to the bog body of light in an
attitude of worship and praise. And their countenance showed they
were most happy.   They were in pews or boxes formed like honey
combs. The sides of one formed the sides of the others. In those
that were occupied there was a male and a female. There was none
with a single person in. Some were empty, and behind the first
circle was another large circle of people who looked happy, but
not so supremely happy as the first, and they also were in an
attitude of worship and praise, and still farther back from the
second were the third host of people. But they were in darkness,
and in torment, so much so that they were wringing their hands,
and going into contortions of bodily pain, until I turned from the

Then I asked my guide what the body of light was that seemed to be
filled with moving life, and he said, "It is God." And I asked
him who the people were that were so happy, and he said, "They are
those who have kept the commandments of God, and have gone through
great trials, but have proved faithful." Then I asked, "Who are
those that are in darkness and in such torment?" He said, "They
are the commandment-breakers and doers of all kinds of sin." Then
I asked if their torment would ever have an end.        He quoted
scripture in answer to all my questions, giving chapter and verse.
 Then he said, "There is no true Church upon the earth at the
present time." Then I said, "Will there ever be a true Church?"
He said, "There will." I said, "Will I live to see it?" He said,
"You will."

Then my guide said, "Let us go." Then I looked back the way we
came and saw only darkness. Then I said, "Oh, let me stay." He
said, "You are not good enough." Then I said, "Will I ever be any
better?" He said, ""You will." Then he said, "When your work is
done on earth, you will occupy this mansion," pointing to one by
which we stood.   Quoting scripture again, "In my Father's house
there are many mansions." etc. Then he said, "Now when thou art
converted, then strengthen thy brethren."     To which I replied,
"They will not believe me if I should."      To which he replied,
"What is that to thee? Do as thou art bid. Some will believe."

Then the guide said, "Come, let us go." So we went back through
the darkness, and I came to a full sense of realization with a
prickley feeling all over my body, but only for a short time until
I was carried away again and shown the order of the spiritual
life, and what mortals must do to gain an entrance into our
Father's Kingdom--and as the voice had said, three times that
night, I was shown the things of Heaven, and told the way that was
right, that I need never doubt more, and so it has ever been since
that time.
I am convinced that if I lose my inheritance in the Kingdom of
God, it will be by my own negligence.

It was not until July 1830 (1831) that I learned anything of the
new Church.    Then two elders came to our town on their way
westward--preaching, converting, and baptizing. Those elders were
Lyman Wight and John Corrill--men well known in the early church
history.   I went to all of their meetings, and their doctrine
appealed to me, but still I was skeptical, or rather felt that I
should be cautious, as this might not be the one my guide had
spoken of, but I felt confident he would come and let me know if
this was the right church.    The elders asked me if I would let
them know if I got notice that this was right. I told them if I
got assurance that they were right, I would follow them to the
ends of the earth if need be.      The time drew near that their
labors in that vicinity would close. The day that they were to
leave, they came to my house to hold a family meeting, and I
received them cordially, and the best of feelings prevailed, but I
felt that I should wait. But very early in the morning as I lay
pondering, I heard the same mild voice as before. He said, "THIS
IS RIGHT, ARISE AND BE BAPTIZED." So I lost no time in finding
the elders. They held a meeting at my house again, and we went to
the place prepared, and the ordinance of baptism was performed for
myself, my wife, and eldest daughter (Malinda Porter)--and I was
ordained an Elder, and set apart to labor as a missionary in and
around the vicinity where we lived. The elders then went to the
home of Nathan Sumner, about 6 miles from our place, whom they
also baptized and ordained an Elder, and set him apart also to
labor with me as a missionary in the adjoining towns.

We then went about sixty miles north where we converted Morris
Phelps, Baldwin Clark and John Cooper, who were some of our old
neighbors, as were also the Sumners, who afterwards became
relatives-in-law.   Shortly after our return, two elders passed
through Tazewell County on their way from Jackson County, Missouri
to Kirtland, Ohio, informing the Saints that Independence,
Missouri had been designated as the gathering place of the main
body of the Church, and it was the wish of the Authorities that
the Saints gather to that place. Shortly after this, I offered my
property for sale, and prepared to go, and instructed the Saints
over whom I was called to preside to do likewise. So on 1 Dec in
the company with James Emmett, Morris Phelps, William Alldredge,
John Alldredge, and a Mr. Berry--all with our families--set out
for Independence, Missouri.

Those who have been in Illinois will know something of the
hardships to be met traveling over this 500 mile journey in the
dead of winter. The first night out, we camped on the east bank
of the Illinois River. The next morning we crossed the river on
the ice which was 8 or 10 inches thick.      Some difficulty was
experienced by the teams slipping, so a quantity of dry grass was
cut and spread on the ice--then water poured over it, which soon
froze--thereby making the crossing easier for the teams, and the
Spoon River, 60 miles farther, we crossed the same way. Here we
rested a few days at a Brother Unstead's who had joined the Church
a short time before.     About 80 miles farther we came to the
Mississippi River, called the Great Father of Rivers. Owing to a
south wind which had been blowing for several days, the ice was
softened, so it was considered unsafe to cross, even for horsemen,
and to wait for the ice to melt and pass down the river so the
boat could run, meant a greater expense than our little company
felt like they could meet. We reasoned this way: we were making
the trip in obedience to the requirements of the presiding
authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ in whom we had placed
our faith. Let us ask for help in time of need. So I, Sanford
Porter, and James Emmett went to a secluded place and in humble
prayer inquired of the God of Heaven what was best to do, and by
inspiration these words were given to us, "Be of good cheer, for
behold I will prepare the way before you. Get ye up early in the
morning, and cross this river with your teams and wagons.      Use
wisdom, and no harm shall befall you, but you shall cross in
safety."   And this gave us a peaceful assurance, and all night
long, I and Brother Emmett were awake, thinking the wind would
surely change to the north and freeze the ice harder, but in this
we were mistaken. The south wind continued to blow, but the ice
was a little harder, and according to the inspiration of the
precious day, we made ready to cross.

Chauncey W. Porter, my eldest son, was sent ahead with the first
wagon and two yoke of oxen hitched to it, and was told to stop at
a certain sand bar more than half way across the river, and there
wait until the main body of the company came up. But he disobeyed
our instructions, and drove on across while many people on both
sides of the river were holding their breath in fear, but he went
over all right, and a shout of wonder and surprise went up from
the people, and many said they saw the ice rise and fall in waves
behind the wagon. But more care was taken when crossing the rest
of the company. They all crossed the sand bar one team at a time.
 They unhitched the teams and drove them over.     Then hitched a
horse at the end of the tongue to distribute the weight to as long
a distance as possible. In that way we all crossed in safety by
10 o'clock.

After journeying a number of days in the state of Missouri, a halt
was made to give the teams a much needed rest, and while here, an
almost fatal accident occurred. My son, Sanford, was kicked by a
newly shod horse with such a force that the toe calk penetrated
the skull. He was to all appearance dead when carried into the
tent. We annointed his head with oil, and laying our hands on his
head, we invoked the life-giving power of the God of Israel, and
soon after taking our hands from his head, his muscles began to
show signs of life. In a short time consciousness soon returned.
 He opened his eyes and seemed to recognize those around him, and
in a short time was able to walk around.

The next day we resumed our journey.     We crossed the Missouri
River at Arrow Rock which is east from Kansas City. The crossing
of the river was by ferry boat. And owing to the swift current at
that place, considerable judgment and care was necessary in order
to make a safe landing. Shortly after crossing the river, we were
met by Morris Phelps, returning from Independence with the means
he had been sent for, and on 1 Mar 1832, we arrived at our
destination after a cold and tedious journey, and the hazardous
crossing of the rivers, but by the blessings of the God of Israel,
we were all alive and well, and happily united with those of our
faith, and feeling fully repaid for all the hardships we had

We found that great things were laid out for the people to do. In
the first place, the Saints were required to live by the law of
consecration or stewardship as they did in the days of Enoch. We
expected to reside in peace until the second coming of the Savior,
and we were to build a magnificent temple to His most Holy Name.
The majority of the people voted to sustain the Prophet Joseph in
his plans. The temple block was then covered with a thick growth
of timber, but the brethren went to work with a will, clearing off
the timber, using it for building and other purposes.         Four
branches of the Church had been organized to the west of
Independence, extending out to a distance of 12 or 14 miles--
mainly Big Blue Timber, Coalville and Prairie. I and my family
located at the last named place, being assigned about 20 acres to
the family. The labor of assigning of the land was in the hands
of Bishop Edward Partridge. We went to work immediately, clearing
land and building houses. The law of consecration was believed to
be a divine requirement from heaven, so all who voted to sustain
it did so with a feeling of devotion in the stewardship system.
Each one is assigned the property and the labor that his vocation
requires, and each one is given his own individuality, and uses
his own talent.

Students of history will bring to mind various instances where
colonies in a new country have thrown their means together with a
view to greater success financially.    But in most instances it
proved a failure for want of individual interests.      In Jackson
County, Missouri the majority of the Saints accepted the law of
consecration, but the minority of the people did not, and they
were the strongest financially, being mostly merchants, and
drawing their substance from the company, made an uneven pull, and
caused dissatisfaction, and the company broke up, and the
directors handed back all property and papers of agreements. But
the seed of contention once started, spread in our own community,
but with those not of our own faith, and strife ran to such a
degree that we were driven from our homes without court or
council, and that at the point of the bayonet and the muzzle of
the gun.   In 1833 we were driven in a body from our newly-made

We then went into Caldwell and other counties to make homes, but
not for long were we allowed to enjoy them. The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints soon found there was no place in the
United States where it could dwell in peace.
On 12 Nov 1833, while the main body of the Saints who had been
hurriedly driven from their homes, were camped on the south bank
of the Missouri River with no way of making an immediate crossing,
and the mob who had driven us were still in pursuit, and as they
said they were under a pledge to kill men, women, and children as
soon as overtaken, a heavy storm came up, and the guards said the
mob were upon us.    But before they began to attack, the storm
broke in meteoric violence, the worst that any of us had ever
seen, and in seeming fear, the mob fled from their intended
victories, and we looked upon the storm as a miraculous
deliverance by the hand of God. To describe the storm, it looked
like the stars were falling thickly for a while, then only a few
would fall, then it would renew its violence and fall thickly
again. So it kept up until nearly dawn before it ceased. Instead
of crossing with the main body of the Saints, I, with a few
others, traveled south and camped at the head of the Osage River.
 Then we traveled down the south fork for some distance. Then our
little company of about 15 families camped for the winter.

As we had been driven from our homes in haste, we could bring very
little to subsist upon, and as winter would soon be upon us,
something must be done to get provisions to live upon through the
winter. So a council was held to determine what was best to do.
I made a suggestion that those who had left grain and swine at
their homes take their teams and go back to their homes and it
might be that the Lord would soften the hearts of our enemies that
they would let us have some of our own to bring back with us. But
some said, "Inasmuch as we have done no harm to anyone or broken
no law, we might go to our homes and remain there." But I did not
think it wise to try to remain with our enemies. They had driven
us once without a first cause, and would again. I did not think
it was wise to take our families, for I knew it was the prejudice
against the whole Church that had caused all the trouble. So a
part of us went back--some to get provisions and some to remain.
I had left plenty of grain and hogs at home if I could get it, so
I took my team and went with the company, but when I arrived at my
home, all was gone. My bins were empty, my hobs were stolen or
had strayed off, and nothing remained to get--and in this
condition my feelings can be imagined rather than told.      I was
among my bitter enemies with no money to buy with, and my family
out in the wilds with winter upon them and nothing to live on.
I was walking the yard with a silent prayer to God that he would
soften the hearts of my enemies, that they would be willing to let
me have some of my own provisions to take to my family. While in
deep trouble, a Mr. Cantrel, one of my neighbors, though a bitter
enemy to our people, came up to me and said, "Good morning, Mr.
Porter. You seem to be in trouble." "I am," I said. "My family
is out in a wild country with winter upon them and nothing to live
on, and I have no money to buy food to take to them." His heart
seemed to soften, for he said, "Drive over to my place. You can
have what you want, and it will not cost you anything." And with
a thankful heart I accepted his offer, although I felt that I was
getting my very own. We had suffered so much persecution we were
forced to take the stripes and bow to the giver.        The other
members that were going back found as much as they could haul, so
we were soon on our way back to our families, but those who went
to stay did not stay long because they were so badly treated. One
man was beaten and left for dead, and they were obliged to leave
their all in the dead of winter, and travel westward.

We spent the winter of 1833 and 1834 clearing land and building
houses.   I and my family settled on a tributary of the Main
Stream.   The country at that time was almost an uninhabited
wilderness, and our little company were thrown entirely upon their
own resources. It was 40 miles to a gristmill, and I decided to
move to the main body of the Church where our children could go to
school, so I made a trip across the Missouri River to see what
prospects there would be to get a location.           And I made
arrangements to get land and could begin tilling it the next
spring. After my return, I offered my place for sale, but was
not successful in getting anything for my improvements, so in the
year 1839, we started and after 5 weeks arrived at Montrose, Iowa.
 Shortly after we took up a farm west of the town and about 5 from

Shortly after settling here, my son, Nathan, through overwork and
handling heavy timber was injured internally, and was not able to
work for several months--being unable to move from his bed for
several weeks, and when he did begin to mend, his recovery was
very slow. During his illness, my daughter, Sarah, was married to
a Mr. David Willard, not a member of our Church, but he had made a
solemn promise that he would join soon after they were married.
So she trusted in his word, but soon after their marriage, she
found that he did not intend to join the Church, and when out of
her presence, he would speak against the Mormons and vilify them.
 We were all opposed to her marrying him, but like many others,
she made her own choice, but when she learned of his true
character, it had a fatal affect on her sensitive nature.      She
grieved very deeply and it undermined her health, and she passed
away within a year after her marriage. So she was free from the
trials of this life. Another death occurred in the family in 1841
when Justin Theodore was killed by a horse falling on him. This
occurred in August.   On October 6, Nathan started on his first
mission, traveling east.    He remained on this mission about 13
months. He returned in Nov 1842. In 1844 he was again sent out.
 This time to electioneer for the Prophet Joseph Smith--he having
announced his candidacy for President of the United States.     It
was while on this trip, and while in Ohio that the news reached
him of the martyrdom of the Prophet and his brother, Hyrum.

Nathan states that Governor Ford was heard to say in speaking of
the killing at Carthage Jail, "I would have thought they would
have had more regard for my safety." and this after the Mormon
militia had all been disarmed by his orders. Thus, implying that
he expected it to take place, but maybe not so soon--plainly
showing he was taking no steps to prevent it, though he had
pledged his honor to their safety, which was his duty as Governor
of the state, after calling upon all the Mormons to surrender
arms, which was an un-American act. But a promise of protection--
then turn an armed mob loose upon them. Such things are for the
record of heaven.

Shortly after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum, a meeting was
called to elect or choose a leader to lead the Church, and those
who were at the meeting testify to seeing Joseph Smith and hearing
his voice in the person of Brigham Young when he arose to speak,
and the people willingly voted him in to lead the Church, and he
immediately began preparations for the long journey west in 1845.

I succeeded in selling my property at a low figure, however, and
accompanied the Saints to Winter Quarters, now Florence, Nebraska
where we remained until 1847 when we started to the Great Rocky
Mountains of the Great Salt Lake.      My two sons, Chauncey and
Nathan, remained behind, and made preparations for the long
journey, but before getting ready, the cold weather set in, and
they were compelled to wait until the next spring before joining
their father and the rest of the company at Winter Quarters. They
got a little work through the winter, however, which helped them
to a little means, but Chauncey was drawn into a trick by a
horsethief who came to him with a well-groomed horse, and wanted
to leave it with him for a few days, and he would pay him for its
care, and Chauncey not thinking of anything wrong, and anxious to
make all he could, took the horse in charge. In a short time, the
man was arrested for stealing the horse, and accused Chauncey of
being accessory to the crime. Chauncey had plenty of witnesses to
prove his innocence, but for want of justice, and being a Mormon,
it took what little money he had to get out of the trickery of his
enemies which was hard on him at that time, but in the Spring of
1846 (1847), they started with what they had and came to Winter
Quarters, and got there some time in June. On account of sickness
and death in the family, having to bury his wife and two babies,
Chauncey was compelled to remain two years longer, and did not
come to the Salt Lake Valley until 1849.

My son, Sanford, was in California with 500 more of the Mormon
boys who had been drafted into the U.S. Army at Winter Quarters,
and was marched across the desert to the Pacific Coast to subdue
the Mexicans, but the Mexicans surrendered, and the Army was
disbanded in 1847, and Sanford met us in Salt Lake Valley on 26
Oct 1847, and remained with us until 1849 when he returned to
California and was absent about two years, returning in 1851. He
married in 1852, and settled in Centerville, Davis, UT with most
of his father's family.

Now my family were all in Salt Lake Valley except my eldest
daughter, Malinda, who went to Texas with her husband shortly
after they were married. Here in Salt Lake Valley we resided in
peace until 1857 when the word came that the President of the
United States was sending an Army to the Great Salt Lake Valley to
exterminate the Mormons, but what we had done worthy of death, we
never knew, unless we were like the meek and humble Nazarene--
being persecuted to death because we had pledged our faith in the
Lord Jesus Christ. And as he suffered in his day while doing the
works of the Father, so are we destined to suffer--but something
must be done.

Though only a handful of peaceable people, weak in number, and
weak in means, but with too much American blood in our veins to
put ourselves up as a target for an army to shoot at without
making any effort to protect ourselves against our own countrymen.
 But brave, kind, and noble President Young called a council of
all the presiding authorities, and a prayer meeting was held, and
the attention of the god of Israel was called to the case. And
this is the answer they got through the spirit of inspiration: "Be
of good cheer. Call up your little army, and furnish them with
your means, and send them forth into the mountains, and I will put
the sling of David in their hands, and I will put a hood in the
jaws of your enemies and shall lead them where I will, and there
shall be no blood shed."    And the writer can testify that that
proved to be the truth.

The militia was organized and Daniel H. Wells was general over the
little army that went forth into the mountains in the winter of
1857-1858 with Porter Rockwell and Lot Smith as captain of the
scouts.     My youngest son, Lyman W. Porter, and my eldest
grandson, Alma Porter, went into the little army, and were out in
the snow all winter. The captain of scouts was heard to say in
speaking of the good nerve of his men, "Gad, boy, if you could see
the tons of hardtack and crust coffee they devour up there in the
snow, you would think they had grit."      But they were generous
boys, those scouts.   They were hard at work all winter, helping
their enemies, and got up a serenading party to cheer them up.
Porter Rockwell and Lot Smith picked 15 men, and my son, Lyman,
was one of them.   They used for musical instruments: camp pans,
tin pans, tied and dried raw hides, and bake-oven lids rubbed
together. Then they would all join in a song of lusty yells. The
program was to draw as near as possible to their camp, then start
the music, and put spurs to the horses and ride over their
sleeping tents while the snow and wind were coming so thick a
horseman could not be seen a few steps away. Then ride on over
two miles to the herd grounds and stampede their mules and beef
cattle--then keep them going where another party would take them
while the scouts drew to higher points, where as soon as the storm
had passed, they could watch the movements of the soldiers with
their field glasses.    They saw a squad of soldiers wallowing
through the snow, but going in the opposite direction. The scouts
drew to camp to rest and enjoy a piece of beef, and get fixed up
for another party. To use my son's own words, "It was plain to be
seen the God of Heaven was taking care of the U.S. Army. He had
sent so much snow and cold wind, it had frozen the fight all out
of them."

Shortly after this, the word came that the soldiers were running
short of provisions, and the captain of the scouts called their
little band together, and said, "Gad, boys, let's go out and cook
a dinner for our enemies," so they drew off by themselves, and
laid their plans before the God of Heaven, and asked his guidance
and help.   Then started out and met the enemies' supply train--
surprised the teamsters, and ordered a surrender, which was
obeyed, but it was accomplished by a little strategy. The captain
of scouts took all their men around a peak or a large knoll--then
down a deep gully or canyon--then up around the peak again in full
sight of the supply train, and this they did several times. Then
the captain left the most of the men to ride around the hill while
the captain with the rest rode bravely up to the train and called
for a surrender of arms.     The wagon boss said, "Where is your
authority?" The captain of scouts called out, "Our authority is
close at hand, and you want to be quick at stacking arms." And
they obeyed the order. When they had all stacked arms, seven men
stood guard over the arms while 8 marched the teamsters into a
deep gully.   When they had the teamsters a safe distance from the
arms, then the seven divided, and part gathered the mules and
drove them into another canyon while the rest fired the train.
When it was all over and they found they had been taken, and the
train burned by 15 men, their anger and mortification knew no
bounds. The wagon boss begged him to shoot him, and not let him
live to face such a disgrace, but the scouts said they did not
want to hurt them.     They told them if they were peaceable and
orderly, very likely they would get their liberty when they got
into Salt Lake Valley.

Now, what I am writing is true. My son and several others of the
scouts are still living, and will give evidence of the truth of
this writing, and also one of the teamsters of the government
train that was burned is living in our town, having married one of
our Mormon girls, and he also laid claim to the gun my son brought
home from the stack of arms but we must not forget that the God of
Heaven over-rules the destinies of men--to put fear into the
hearts of some, and courage into the hearts of others, to fulfil
his promises, and accomplish his purposes, but as my son has often
remarked, it seemed a shame to destroy so much property. There
were loads of flour, bacon, rice, sugar, coffee, tea, fruit and
canned goods, blankets and clothes, and resin soap that melted and
ran in a big yellow stream from the wagons while they were
burning, and cooled on the snow. My son took his knife and cut
out a chunk, and put it in his saddle bag and brought it home.
"And with all the loads of ammunition to kill the Mormons with--
and when the rest was all done, we set fire to the ammunition, and
left a big feast for the coyotes, and went and gathered up our
mules, and made a march for camp." Thus, we found later that the
work of the little band of scouts made a very material difference
in the moves of the U.S. Army. Another train of provisions must
be sent to them before they could move, and in the meantime,
delegates had been sent to the President of the U.S. to lay our
cause before him, and try if possible to make a compromise, or in
other words to find out why the army was sent against us.      And
while this was going on, President Brigham Young took a decisive
step to prevent trouble of a general nature. He issued a call to
all the people living in the northern part of the territory to
move south, and take everything with them except their homes, so
if the soldiers were sent in with hostile intent, there would be
nothing to fight, and nothing to get, because the guard that was
left to watch the U.S. Army were ordered to cut down fruit trees
and burn houses so there would be nothing left.

The big general move was made before the delegates returned from
Washington, and not a family to be found anywhere.       But they
brought good news. A treaty was signed, a new governor for Utah,
and no hostility. The army was to come into Salt Lake Valley in
peace. The people were all called back to their homes. The army
came into the Valley the latter part of May, and the people
returned in the fall. The army was marched as far south as Cedar
Valley, and made a barrack.     They named it Camp Floyd.     They
remained two years and then were ordered back to serve in the
Civil War in 1860. And now we see the God of Israel had a hook in
the jaws of our enemies, and blessed that which seemed to be evil,
and turned it to good, for thousands upon thousands of dollars
were brought to the poor Mormons, and some became almost rich off
the army, and no blood was shed, and praise be given to an All-
Wise Father in Heaven.

About the years of 1857 and 1858 such heavy snow fell in the
winter, and such high water followed, and caused such an unusual
rise in the Salt Lake that most of the farms lying in the bottom
along the shore about 15 miles were damaged by the salt water--
some to such a degree that nothing would grow on it, and my farm
was one of them. So I had to abandon it to salt and salaratus,
and as my sons Chauncey and Sanford were putting up a sawmill in
the mountains in Morgan county, Utah, I left my place and went to
Morgan County, and took up a place on Canyon Creek, and made a
home there.

It is a good country, fine land, good water, and plenty of wood--
although winters are a little harder than in Davis County where I
had my home. My boys soon all left Centerville except Nathan, and
made their homes on Canyon Creek with me. We found that the soil
made good brick, and we hired men to burn a large kiln. We soon
had good houses, and we got along fine in farming and stock
raising, but in the fall of 1861, I was up on the side of the
mountain chopping timber.    I was felling a tree when my foot
slipped, and I broke my leg above my knee. I was then in my 73rd
year, It was 36 hours before we could get a doctor to set it, and
by that time it had a bad color.     The doctor said my leg would
have to come off, but I said, "When I go, I will go all together.
 I told him to set the bone the best he could--then before he
bound it up, to anoint it with consecrated oil--then for him and
my sons to administer to me, and if the Lord was willing I should
live, and it would heal. If not, it would be all right anyway.
But my time had not come yet; my leg healed all right.

My greatest trial came in 1864 when my life's partner was taken
from me, and a dear good wife and mother she had always been.
Then life lost its interest, but we must all remain until our time
has come, and here I close my history, and lay down my pen.

(Thanks should also be extended to Lysander Leroy Porter, Elden
Leroy Porter and Lilith P. Wilson for their copy of the above
history.   It should be mentioned, however, that the manuscript
used by the writer is much more complete than any of these other

The following is submitted by Joseph Grant Stevenson:     "Sanford
Porter, born 7 Mar 1790 at So. Brimfield, MA and Nancy Warriner,
born 27 Jul 1790 at Vershire, Orange, VT. were sealed at Nauvoo by
A.M. Lyman 3 Feb 1846 at 6:35 p.m.     The witnesses were Willard
Richards and Isaac Morley."

Under date of 11 Feb 1873 Edward Stevenson Sr in his journal:
"Telegraphed to Deseret News, 'A veteran Gone, Another Old veteran
of Jackson Co., MO--Father Porter of Porterville has Gone.
Funeral 1 p.m. today'". The Deseret News Weekly of 19 Feb 1873
noted the following: "Died. . . At Porterville, Morgan County, 9
Feb of old age, SANFORD PORTER, Sr., aged 82 years, 11 months and
2 days. Deceased was born in Brimfield, MA, on 7 Mar 1790. He
served his country in the War of 1812, and embraced the Gospel in
Tazewell County, IL in June 1831. He was ordained an Elder under
the hands of Lyman Wight and John Carl (Corrill), and soon raised
up a small branch of the church, which he organized into a
company, and started on 1 Dec 1831 for Jackson County, MO,
arriving at Independence on the 6 Mar 1833. From thence he was
driven, in company with the Saints, in the fall of 1833. He fled
with a few families into Van Buren Co., where he resided until the
spring of 1839, when he was again obliged to leave his
possessions, and take up the line of march.     He arrived in Lee
Co., Iowa, the first of July. Here he enjoyed a season of rest in
the society of the Saints.     He was expelled, with the Nauvoo
Saints in 1846. Following the pioneers, he arrived in Salt Lake
Valley in October 1847. He honorably held various offices in the
church.    He was the first resident in Porterville, and had
remarkable faith.     He lived as a Saint, and died in full
possession of his mental powers. His children, grandchildren and
great grandchildren number 157 souls, most of whom attended his
Andrew Jensen in his Latter-day Saint biographical Encyclopedia,
Vol. 1V, p.622 writes the following: PORTER, Sanford, Bishop of
the Centerville Ward, South Davis Stake, Utah, from 1852-1855, was
born 7 Mar 1790 in Brimfield, MA, a son of Nathan Porter and
Susannah West.   He was baptized in 1831, emigrated to Utah in
1847, and was ordained a Bishop 7 Jan 1852."

The Endowment House records (F Utah S 1 B, #1763) show that
Sanford Porter had a second wife sealed to him on 5 Sep 1854 in
the office of President Brigham Young.   She was Phoebe Simpson,
daughter of Moses and Delpha Florence Simpson, born 10 Aug 1805 at
Caswell Co., North Carolina.

Sanford and Nancy Warriner Porter would never let their pictures
be taken because they said it was vanity.

Nancy Porter Moffett adds the following note: "Sanford Porter, Sr.
passed away 9 Feb 1873. A few hours later, Minerva A. Duel, the
mother of Amy Vilate Porter, also passed away leaving her tiny
daughter 13 days old to be raised by Lyman Wight Porter and his
2nd wife, Sarah Catherine Emmett.

On 11 Feb 1873 a double funeral was held for Minerva A. Duel
(Porter) and Sanford Porter, Sr.; they were also buried at the
same time." (At Porterville, Utah)

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