Burial: Ogden City Cemetery, Ogden, Weber County, Utah, USA
Find A Grave Memorial# 5089101
found on findagrave.com
ALFRED BOSWORTH CHILD - 1796-1852 (56 YEARS OLD)
Alfred Bosworth Child was born on November 15, 1796, near the southern border of Greenfield Township, Saratoga County, New York. Alfred was the first surviving child born to Mark A. and Hannah Benedict Child, where he was the eldest sibling out of sixteen brothers and sisters, which gave him the added responsibility of setting an example for them. Alfred was raised on his father's 168-acre farm in South Greenfield, which would have consisted of many long days of hard work during the agricultural season. Nevertheless, because education was the utmost importance in the Child family, Alfred spent his winter months studying at the local schoolhouse and diligently searching the scriptures at home.
Because Alfred lived near his grandfather's homestead in South Greenfield, he was fortunate to build a relationship with Capt. Increase Child before he passed away in Alfred's sixteenth year, thus allowing him to hear about his grandfather's fierce escapades during the French-Indian and Revolutionary Wars. In addition, because Alfred's father differed in his views on Christian doctrine than his grandfather, it is most likely that Alfred was privileged to hear many of the discussions about the scriptures between Increase and Mark A. Child. As a result, Alfred B. Child was raised during a time period when the Child family in upstate New York was examining and redefining many of their Christian beliefs that had long been held by their ancestors for centuries. Page 337
|Map of Alfred B. Child Migrations in Upstate New York|
|Home of Alfred B. Child in Boonville, Oneida County, New York|
By the following spring, Alfred B. Child set out on his own at the age of twenty when he married Polly Barber on March 19, 1817. Because Alfred had married into one of the prominent families of Greenfield, his children were fortunate to have an educated mother who had studied at the Milton Academy of New York. However, Alfred and Polly's dream of having children did not start well, as they had to experience the deaths of their first three children between 1818-1820. It is during this time of sorrow that Alfred moved his family to Boonville, Oneida County, 1820.
|1865 Map of the Hammond-Morristown Border|
St. Lawrence, New York
When Alfred's father Mark married Submit Peacock the following year, two of her relatives, John and Joseph Peacock, were in the process of joining several Greenfield residents in a move to Boonville, which was located about one hundred miles to the west. The link between these two towns came when the Holland Land Company hired various frontiersmen from the Porter and King families of Greenfield to help settle the town of Boonville in 1795-96. Because land was still relatively cheap in this region when Alfred was first married, it is likely that he followed the Peacocks to Boonville, where they all show up together in the 1820 census records.
Because the extended families of Alfred and Polly still lived back in Greenfield, it appears that they briefly returned in 1821 to give birth to a baby girl (Polly Ann). By the following year, they returned back to Boonville where they were finally in a position to sell their working farm to an incoming settler. Hence, after Alfred sold his homestead in 1822, he decided not to buy more land in Boonville, but rather chose to move his family north to St. Lawrence County.
During the War of 1812, the American military built a road along the southern border of the St. Lawrence River, which eventually opened up on the northern region of this county for future settlement. By 1818, a land office was opened at Chippewa Bay Village, where plots were offered at reasonably low prices. After word had reached Boonville and Greenfield about inexpensive land along the St. Lawrence River, families started migrating to this frontier region, which included the Alfred B. Child family. By 1822, Alfred had moved his family about one hundred miles once again, where he purchased thirty acres of land, only to start the process over again of clearing the land and building another log cabin. Within the following year, Alfred's farm had prospered to the point where he was able to buy forty additional acres of land.
During the next few years, the family of Alfred B. Child prospered exceedingly, where he and Polly brought forth two sons in 1823 (Mark A.) and 1825 (Myron B.). In addition, because many of the frontiersmen from this region had flourished remarkably well during the first decade of settlement, they were able to break away from Morristown, thus creating the new Township of Hammond. As a result, they held their first town meeting on May 8, 1827, whereby Alfred B. Child was elected as the Town Constable. Although Alfred's land was located in the Township of Morristown when he moved there in 1822, the border had shifted when the Township of Hammond was created in 1827, thus accounting for the discrepancy in Child journals.
|School of Alfred B. Child's children|
in Hammond, St. Lawrence, New York
Although Alfred and Polly Barber Child suffered immensely with the loss of their first three children, they were extremely blessed to never experience the death of any of their children while they lived in St. Lawrence County. This period was clearly a golden age for the family of Alfred B. Child, as he and Polly brought forth seven children during this happy time. While Alfred's eldest children were initially raised in a log cabin, his younger children were fortunate to be raised during the years of his prosperity. After seven years of establishing a highly efficient farm of about 100 acres, Alfred sold his homestead to the Taylor family of Scotland in 1829. Alfred's prosperity not only allowed him to buy a larger farm of 160 acres, but also permitted him to build a framed house for his family.
|Children of |
Alfred Bosworth and Polly Barber Child
|Alfred B. Child Home|
in Hammond Township, St. Lawrence, New York
The influence of Alfred and Polly Child must have been great, because Polly's father also moved his entire family to North Hammond around the same time period. The fact that the children of Alfred B. Child were now being raised around their cousins on both sides of the family indicates that the 1830s was clearly a golden age for the Child family in North Hammond. In addition, there must have been many long discussions about the different religious topics of the Great Awakening as the extended families met together with settlers of different faiths. Because no established churches had been built in the frontier region of North Hammond, Alfred's brother John helped organize the first Religious Union Society of Morristown. Their building, the Chippewa Church, was built on the border between the townships of Hammond and Morristown, which was centrally located near all of the Child homesteads.
|Village of Chippewa Bay in Hammond Township,|
St. Lawrence County, New York
|Chippewa Church and Cemetery|
Morristown-Hammond Border, New York
It was around this religiously fervent period that the life of Alfred B. Child would change forever. During the winter of 1837-38, the St. Lawrence River had started to freeze over, thus making it difficult for travelers to use boats along the aquatic route of this super highway. As a result, two missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had disembarked in the village port of Chippewa Bay, which was a few miles southwest of the Child homestead in North Hammond. Although the events of the restoration were in the process of being carried out for almost two decades, this unexpected encounter with these missionaries was the first time the Child family heard the principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
|Chippewa Bay Village|
Township of Hammond, St. Lawrence County, New York
Although the doctrines that Elder Blakesly taught was considered "strange" by the Protestant settlers of North Hammond, in reality, they were not that foreign to those who were familiar with the Holy Bible. Because Alfred had diligently searched out the scriptures throughout his life, he recognized many of the doctrines of the restoration, which was clearly the motivating factor for him to pursue further investigations. Perhaps the greatest factor that led to these missionary discussions was Alfred's understanding of the divine nature of God, who is unchanging through all eternities.
When the missionaries taught Alfred that the doctrines and ordinances were to remain constant in the true Church that Jesus Christ established during the meridian of time, he knew that the apostasy that followed must have taken place due to changes in the religion. In addition, because Alfred understood that "God is not the author of confusion" (1 Cor. 14:33), then obviously the plethora of conflicting Protestant denominations could not all be correct, based on the fact that their doctrines and ordinances were so diverse. Hence, Alfred concluded that the restoration of the gospel in the latter days would consist of one true Church that contained the same doctrines and ordinances that Christ originally established 2,000 years ago. As a result, Alfred continued his investigations because the missionaries were diligent in showing him various scriptural passages from the Bible of how this Church conformed to God's immutable method. Pages 346-355
Just as Christ taught that an evil tree (false prophet) cannot bring forth good fruit, Alfred concluded if the Book of Mormon was true, then Joseph Smith had to be a true prophet because this was his fruit. He either wrote the account as a deceitful man or he translated it as a true prophet of God. For this reason, Alfred concluded that the only way he could find out for himself was to ask God in prayer if the Book of Mormon was true or not. In addition, Alfred knew he had a moral obligation to ask his Heavenly Father in prayer because the scriptures commanded him to "try the spirits, whether they are of God" (1 John 4:1). If the Book of Mormon was true, how could Alfred stand before his Maker at the judgment day knowing that he never considered it by reading it and asking his Father in Heaven in prayer about its truthfulness? Or for that matter, why would a loving Father not give one of His spirit children guidance when they came to Him in humble prayer after He promised all through the scriptures that He would lead them into all truth? Alfred B. Child humbled himself by asking his Heavenly Father in prayer and he received a spiritual witness that the Book of Mormon was true and that Joseph Smith was chosen by God as the prophet to usher in the restoration of the gospel.
|Alfred B. Child Descent |
from Wolstone Childe of London, England
It is curious why Alfred B. Child was the only sibling in the Child family in North Hammond to embrace the restored gospel, where even his father Mark had rejected it. Although Alfred's humble spirit was the primary factor in his conversion, it may also be contributed to a spiritual birthright that was passed down through his Child lineage. As a result, when Alfred's 5th great grandfather, Rev. Benjamin Childe I, played a significant role in the Puritan movement in England, which was a crucial step for the restoration, it is most likely that his righteousness guaranteed that one of his primogenitor descendants would embrace the restored gospel several hundred years later.
|Spiritual Blessings of Alfred B. Child|
from his Grandfather's Sacrifice
It is interesting to note the pattern of both the temporal and spiritual birthright that took place in Alfred's ascendant bloodline. After Alfred's grandfather Increase sacrificed his temporal birthright in search of truth, the descendants of his brother Asa prospered exceedingly with many secular benefits. However, while that side of the family maintained their Puritan traditions, Increase retained his spiritual birthright as the primogenitor heir, thus moving his descendants closer to the truth. Although the spiritual birthright should have passed to Increase's eldest son Salmon, the Lord respected his free agency when he and his descendants loyally continued his father's tradition of adhering to the Baptist faith. Consequently, the spiritual birthright passed to Increase's second son Mark A. Child, who did not embrace the restored gospel while in North Hammond, which resulted in this special blessing passing to Mark's eldest son, Alfred B. Child.
After Alfred B. Child received a spiritual witness of the truthfulness of the restoration, he knew that if he did not act upon this decision he would stand accountable before God based on his knowledge. For this reason, Alfred decided to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by entering the waters of baptism on June 5, 1838, when he and his wife Polly Barber Child were baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. In addition, four out of eight of their children who were at the proper age of accountability were baptized, which included Polly A., Mark A., Myron B., and Hannah P. Child. It is most likely that the family of Alfred B. Child was baptized in the Chippewa Bay of the St. Lawrence River, due to the fact that the churches in this region would not permit the missionaries to use their facilities.
Area where the Alfred B. Child Family was Baptized
|Map of Alfred B. Child's Migration|
as a Latter-day Saint in the Midwest
Because the restoration of the gospel was still in its infancy during the 1830s, new members of the Church were asked to move to a central location where the Saints were gathering. While the shocking news of Alfred's conversion concerned his friends and extended family, it must have been more disturbing when they learned of his plans to move to Kirtland, Ohio. There is no doubt that they mocked and ridiculed Alfred for his conversion, based on his son's journal that states, "their friends were very much opposed to their leaving and predicted that they would repent and wish themselves back before one year." These sentiments are also confirmed in a letter from Polly Barber Child to her family stating, "if it wasn't for all of you laughing at me...I was forsaken by them...Mother says that we have caused her a great many sleepless nights."
It is evident that Alfred's decision to embrace the restored gospel was like many others during this time period, where it did not come easy, but rather came at the extreme cost of sacrifice. Alfred not only sacrificed his friends and extended family, but also had to leave a prospering homestead that he was not able to sell before departing. Because Alfred could only take what would fit into one covered wagon, which were mainly his children and food, he was forced to sell or give away almost all of his household goods that he had acquired over the years. By August 11, 1838, Alfred and Polly Barber Child loaded up their eight children, which ranged between one and seventeen years of age, and set out on a 450-mile trek to Kirtland with a few supplies and an abundance of faith.
When Alfred left for Kirtland in the summer of 1838, there was no way for him to know that violent mobs had driven the majority of faithful Saints from their homes once again. After Joseph Smith officially organized the Church in upstate New York by 1830, cruel mobs started persecuting the Saints until they were forced to flee for safety. By the following year, Joseph Smith had moved the headquarters of the Church to Kirtland, Ohio, where the Church began to prosper exceedingly from the great sacrifices of their devoted missionaries. Although the Saints had dedicated their first temple by 1836, persecution continued to rise during the following two years until they had no choice but to flee once again to another state in search of refuge.
|First Latter-day Saint Temple in Kirtland, Ohio|
When the Child family arrived in Kirtland in late August of 1838, it must have been sad to learn that the last exodus of Saints "left a few days before we got there." On the other hand, it must have been exhilarating to see the first temple that was built by the Saints, which was left behind as a monument to their faith and sacrifice. Although Alfred had also sacrificed much for the gospel's sake (family, friends, land, and a house), it was at this point in time when his real test came. When Alfred learned that the Saints were 900 miles away, which was twice the distance than what he had just traveled, he wisely made the decision to follow the prophet by sacrificing once again, rather than turning back. As a result a magnificent event occurred during their ensuing journey, which is relayed in the journal of his son Warren G. Child.
STRANGE OCCURRENCE: EXCERPTS FROM WARREN G. CHILD'S JOURNAL
"Allow me here to relate a singular circumstance or visitation that transpired while on our journey going to Missouri...While traveling through a dense forest in Ohio, a very singular coincidence occurred. The road was narrow and seemingly but little traveled, though the forest was quite clear of underbrush. At this particular point, there were by accident two other teams that were traveling in the same direction that we were. But as they had fallen in with us a few days previously, our family was only casually acquainted with them. They were not of our faith, but made very pleasant company for us in traveling in a comparatively wild and strange country.
"Father was sitting in front of his wagon driving in deep thought and meditation about his native home, his friends he left behind, the gospel that had induced him to forsake all and undertake a journey that he had thus far accomplished, and what yet laid before him. It was while thus in deep thought when a personage appeared at his horses' heads and cried whoa...the team stopped so suddenly that the teams traveling behind came in contact with our wagon.
"When father recovered a little from the sudden and so abrupt stop, a personage walked unconcernedly up to the wagon. He had the appearance of being very aged, well dressed with an unusual long white beard, was about six feet tall and of rather square build, with a pleasant and happy look on his face. He asked no questions as to who we were or where we were going, but proceeded to shake hands with the family, commencing with father, then mother, and each of the children according to age--blessing them each separately in the name of the Lord, saying we would prosper in our journey in the land of Zion.
"The visit was so sudden and unlooked for that not a word had been spoken by the family. Father expected he would do likewise with the families occupying the two wagons behind us. But as he simply made a slight bow as he passed them, some members of the families got out to hail him and get further explanation of a so strange and unlooked for occurrence. They went quickly to the rear and to their surprise he was nowhere to be seen. They made hasty search in every direction, but he was nowhere to be found. They searched the road in every direction for his tracks but none were found. The families traveling with us remarked that we had received a strange blessing from a stranger.
"On arriving to Missouri, father related the occurrence to the prophet Joseph Smith, and he told him that the personage was none other than one of the Nephites who were permitted not to taste death, and that they made occasional visits where they were permitted to do so." Passages from the Journal of Warren G. Child: Pages 45-46 and D-E.
|Map of LDS Historical Sites in Northwestern Missouri|
After the family of Alfred B. Child experienced a strange occurrence with an aged traveler who blessed them to prosper in their journey to the land of Zion, his words came to pass as the Child journals reveal that their 1,300-mile trek was "a pleasant journey." There is no doubt that the Child family needed this prosperous journey, for they were about to endure firsthand persecutions when they arrived in Far West, Missouri during the early part of October of 1838. Because the Child family had arrived in Caldwell County at the tail end of the Kirtland exodus, their first encounter with the Saints must have been very humbling, as they saw thousands of them living in makeshift shelters, while building their log cabins.
By this point in time, the northwestern region of Missouri had become a refuge for Saints that had been driven from the states of New York and Ohio. Many of the Saints that fled from New York in 1831 never settled in Kirtland, but rather migrated to Independence, Missouri that same year. However, after prospering for two years, the Saints in Jackson County had multiplied to the point where their population became such a threat, that violent mobs drove them from their homes during the winter of 1833. After these Saints fled across the Missouri River for safety, they settled in Clay County for several years until they were compelled to leave their homes by 1836, when they migrated northward once again and settled around Shoal Creek.
By December of 1836, Missouri state legislators created Caldwell County, in order that the Mormon refugees would have a permanent place to settle. As a result, Far West was established as the county seat of Caldwell, where Latter-day Saints held the primary political offices in that county for the next two years. When Joseph Smith fled from Kirtland in January of 1838, Far West became the official gathering place for the Saints as the new headquarters of the Church after he arrived in March of that year. Shortly after, Joseph Smith received revelation that a temple should be built in Far West, where four cornerstones were laid and dedicated on July 4, 1838.
|Temple Lot at Far West with Corner Stones|
Dedicated July 4, 1838
The two Mormon settlements that stirred up the most persecutions for the Saints were Diahman in Daviess County and DeWitt in Carroll County. By May of 1838, Joseph Smith led a survey party thirty-five miles north of Far West and laid out a plat for a new settlement called Diahman, located on the plateau of Spring Hill in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman. Because this new settlement was only a few miles from Gallatin, the seat of Daviess County, many of the non-Mormon residents were alarmed. Within a few months, the Saints outnumbered the Missourians in Daviess County almost two to one, which created unnecessary tension during the election season. When Election Day arrived in Missouri on August 6, 1838, a major brawl ensued in Gallatin when 200 Missourians would not allow the Saints to cast their votes.
|Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman on the Grand River|
Daviess County, Missouri
North of Far West near the Log Cabin of Alfred B. Child
Although the Child family had a good experience finding a home where there were many good Saints who "had taken interest in our being well...when we first got acquainted," their peace of mind was about to come to an end. For after they had "found a comfortable house and lived there about three weeks," their homestead was illegally confiscated from them, along with many of their temporal possessions by the leaders of the Missouri state militia.
|Shoal Creek Tributary|
North of Far West near Alfred B. Child Home
During the first week that the Child family dwelt in Missouri, the Saints that were expelled from DeWitt came pouring into Far West as refugees. Because the vigilantes that attacked the Saints in Carroll County were headed to Daviess County to drive out the Mormons there as well, Joseph Smith raised a volunteer army of 500 soldiers to defend the Saints of Diahman. Because the Child family lived in the Diahman Stake of Daviess County, Polly's letter reveals that "Alfred was called to go to Diahman...orders were that every man that was able and their family well should help, for the mob was gathering very fast...the mob was burning the houses of a few of the brethren." As a result, Alfred was armed and mounted on Monday, October 15, 1838, where he followed Joseph Smith and about 200 calvary soldiers to Adam-ondi-Ahman.
By Wednesday, October 17, 1838, a severe snowstorm had set in where more than eighteen inches of snow fell in a thirty-six hour period, which caused several brigades from the Missouri Militia to cancel their march. It is evident that this snowstorm was a Divine act of Providence that most likely saved the lives of many Saints, based on the amount of snow that fell during this early time of year. Because Alfred had to be away from his family for several weeks after they first arrived, the journal of his son Warren reveals that his "mother had to devise every means to procure food for the family, much of our little store having been exhausted and confiscated by the mob."
By the time the Mormon soldiers returned from Diahman a week later, another confrontation was rising to the south on the border between Caldwell and Ray Counties. When the alarm came in that a mob had taken Mormon prisoners near Crooked River on the night of October 24, 1838, Polly reveals in a letter that she and her eldest son Mark were in Far West at that time obtaining supplies. Because it was no longer safe to travel, they stayed in town that night and "laid on the floor with their guns by their sides...Mob at Crooked River. Army went out next morning...went home and found Alfred waiting for us." Because Polly's letter does not make it clear where Alfred was serving when he was previously called out, it is uncertain whether he joined the seventy-five soldiers that fought in this battle. Nevertheless, his son Warren states in his journal that after the Apostle David Patten was mortally wounded in battle, it was Alfred's wagon or team that "was taken to bring his body to Far West."
|Left: Governor Lilburn Boggs|
Right: Map of the Battle of Crooked River
By Monday, October 29, 1838, news had reached the Latter-day Saints that several brigades of Missouri state troops were marching to Far West. As a result, the prophet Joseph Smith counseled all the members in the outlying regions to gather at Far West or Diahman for safety. A letter by Polly Barber Child reveals how the Child family heeded the council of the prophet, after living at their homestead for only three weeks. Polly writes, "It was thought advisable to go to Diahman for safety. We packed up most of the night and started the next morning. Only fourteen miles, I fired our tent and lived in it two weeks and three days...the back of our tent was not more than thirty feet from the rode." Her daughter Polly Ann states in her journal how the settlement of Diahman was transformed to "a city of tents and wagons," which was located near the summit of Spring Hill in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman.
By the following day, some of the latter-day Saints that did not heed the council of the prophet were harshly persecuted by the mobs, where the most severe incident took place at Haun's Mill on Shoal Creek. Some 250 vigilantes crossed the eastern border of Caldwell County and carried out a surprise attack, killing eighteen men and boys, while wounding fifteen others. The news of the massacre sent shock waves through the Saints at Far West and Diahman, while they waited with great anxiety for the Missouri state militia to arrive that evening.
|Diahman where the Child Family |
lived in a tent for seventeen days
After the state militia had forced the 600 Mormon troops at Far West to formally surrender their weapons, they sent a brigade to deal with the 150 Mormon soldiers that were defending the other LDS settlement at Diahman. When the militia arrived on Friday, Polly reveals that "Alfred had been standing sentinel," which was one of the primary guards that defended the settlements. Because "no one dared to venture out for fear of being killed or taken prisoner," the sentinels were the first to engage the enemy when they approached Diahman. As a result, it was Alfred and his eldest son Mark who went out to meet them, where "they were all surrounded by the mob. Myroa was just coming with a load and saw them take Mark and his father." Warren reveals in his journal that, "we were relieved of our best horse, which was confiscated by the mob...Father and Mark, my oldest brother, were taken prisoners with many other of the brethren, amongst whom was the prophet Joseph Smith."
Alfred B. Child guarded the Saints as a Sentinel
|Liberty Jail in Clay County, Missouri|
where Joseph Smith was detained
|Cramped Underground Cell of Liberty Jail|
in Clay County, Missouri
When the Child family moved to Far West in mid-November 1838, they made a brief stop at their old homestead in Daviess County to gather a few more things. Warren reveals in his journal "with the farm my father purchased in Missouri, he got several cribs of corn on the ear, which served us and the team for food during the winter of 1838-9." Hence, not all was lost for the Child family in the initial six weeks that they spent as their first exposure with the main body of Latter-day Saints. While they had devolved from a pleasant journey to being captives of a cruel mob who had stolen most of their personal property, they still had their lives, food for their family, and most important, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Although most people would have turned bitter towards God after receiving this treatment when they had sacrificed so much, it is evident from Polly's letter that this was not the case for the Child family. For she reveals that, "I felt no alarm," but rather, "all fear, all fluttering of the heart, was gone from me. I was as calm as ever" and "yet there has never been the smallest surmount of thought flick across my mind, like wishing I had never embraced this gospel and come here. No my friends, there is peace and love to the true believer of the gospel." It is clearly astounding to realize that the Child family never regretted their move to Missouri after they had endured this level of persecution in such a short period. Only the restoration of the true gospel could allow its followers to still perceive the world in "peace and love" after experiencing so much tribulation.
When the Child family moved to Far West, it is uncertain whether they lived in their tent during the harsh winter or found refuge in a log cabin with another Latter-day Saint family. However, what is certain is the fact that they endured severe persecution for several months from the soldiers of the Missouri militia, who had promised to protect the unarmed Saints in Caldwell County. After the leaders of the state militia moved up the deadline for the expulsion of the Saints during the dead of winter, the journal of Polly Ann reveals that they received "fifteen days warning" with "orders for them all to leave the state." Because there were many Latter-day Saints that were destitute and did not have the temporal means to move, Brigham Young proposed that the leaders of Church, high and low, pool their resources together in order to help the poor. As a result, on January 29, 1839, Alfred B. Child signed a document with 214 other devout members of the Church, where they made a solemn covenant to "assist each other" in their removal from the state of Missouri, in which they would "never desert the poor."
COVENANT THAT ALFRED B. CHILD SIGNED TO ASSIST IN REMOVING THE POOR
We, whose names are hereunder written, do for ourselves individually hereby covenant to stand by and assist one another, to the utmost of our abilities, in removing from this state in compliance with the authority of the state; and we do hereby acknowledge ourselves firmly bound to the extent of all our available property, to be disposed of by a committee who shall be appointed for the purpose of proving means for the removing from this state of the poor and destitute who shall be considered worthy, till there shall not be one left who desires to remove the state:
With this proviso, that no individual shall be deprived of the right of the disposal of his own property for the above purpose, or of having the control of it, or so much of it as shall be necessary for the removing of his own family, and to be entitled to the overplus, after the work is effected; and furthermore, said committee shall give receipts for all property, and an account of the expenditure of the same.
Far West, Missouri, January 29, 1839
(History of the Church 3:251)
By the middle of February, the main body of Saints went out on a 200-mile trek to the state of Illinois during the harsh winter. The journal of Polly Ann reveals that "my father had little money" and that a man was hired "by the name of Allred to move us out." In terms of the covenant, Polly Ann indicates their compliance by stating "my father let one of the other brethren have the remaining horse." Although the Child family could not offer more than a horse, they gave everything that they possessed as a complete sacrifice.
The 200-mile trek to Illinois during the peak of winter clearly took its toll on more than 8,000 Latter-day Saints fleeing the extermination order. The journal of Alfred's son Warren reveals the depredations as, "in the inclemency of the weather, poorly clad and many barefooted, they made a hasty exit from the state taking with them what little movable effects that were left them from the ravages of the mob." These entries also reveal that the Child family suffered during this exodus as "the greater portion of the family walking, as already stated, part of them barefooted over the frozen ground and stubs." In addition, Polly Ann's journal indicates that "there was a great deal of suffering among the women and children before we got to the Mississippi."
By the time the Latter-day Saints had arrived on the west bank of the Mississippi River around the end of February, the journal of Polly Ann indicates that "the ice was running so that we could not cross, consequently, we had to camp there the next three weeks before we could cross into Illinois. By that time it was the middle of March. I will not attempt to describe the suffering of the Saints." The journal of Warren relates that part of their suffering no only came from the bitter cold, but also derived from "the raw March winds that swept up or down the great river, which rendered our condition quite uncomfortable." After the ice finally melted by mid-March, the Saints crossed into Illinois, where the received relief from the kind citizens of Quincy.
|Crossing the Mississippi River|
Border between Missouri and Illinois
|19th Century Map|
Alfred B. Child Migrations through Western Illinois
By the middle of April, almost all of the Saints had left Missouri, which was a factor that allowed Joseph Smith and the other leaders to escape from Liberty Jail. After they were reunited with their families in Quincy, Joseph Smith made the decision to settle the Saints about thirty-five miles north in Hancock County. During May of 1839, Joseph Smith and the majority of Latter-day Saints moved to the village of Commerce, which they later renamed Nauvoo. Because Alfred had given his last horse away "to help" another Saint, he did not have a wagon team or financial means to move his family with the body of Saints at that time. Hence, the Child family remained in Quincy until they earned enough money for an additional move.
The journal of Warren G. Child reveals that "after the crops were gathered..My father and brother Mark started on foot to locate a suitable place at Nauvoo or in that vicinity." Because they left in early October, Alfred and Mark were able to attend the first conference that was held in Nauvoo, which became a "custom for father" over the years. At this conference, the brethren established the two stakes of Nauvoo and Zarahemla (Iowa), which became the primary two stakes of the Church during this time period. It is interesting to note how the same leadership that presided over the Diahman Stake in Missouri was called to lead the Zarahemla Stake in Iowa. Consequently, Alfred decided to not settle in Nauvoo, but rather went across the Mississippi River to reside in Iowa with the leaders that he knew when he first arrived in Daviess County the previous year.
|Alfred B. Child's Land in String Prairie, Lee County, Iowa|
|Map of Alfred B. Child's Home|
in String Prairie, Lee County, Iowa
|Sugar Creek in String Prairie, Lee County Iowa|
Near Child Homestead
By the spring of 1840, Alfred's sons had cleared about 15 acres of land, but had little means to plow it. Nevertheless, because the Spirit had led the Child family to this remote location, Alfred knew that the Lord would not forsake him, but rather would provide for his needs. Consequently, a few settlers migrated to this region in the spring, where "one of those who had decided to take up a farm joining ours to the south agreed to exchange team work, which is how we plowed the land." After the cultivation, Polly Ann reveals that her "father managed to put in a little grain and garden" where he "raised a pretty good crop." The surplus that the Child family gained from this crop was sufficient enough to start recovering from the devastating effects of the Extermination Order.
After the harvest of 1840, the main body of Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo started showing signs of recovery as well. As a result, the prophet Joseph Smith received revelation from the Lord in January of 1841, that the time had come for the Saints to make a sacrifice once again and erect a temple in Nauvoo. Although the majority of Latter-day Saints were still poor and barely recovering, many of them heeded the call of the prophet by donating time and resources. Because there were many families that did not have money to offer, more than one thousand men donated one in every ten days in labor as a tithe offering. There is no doubt that Alfred and his eldest sons donated a tenth of their time to help build the House of the Lord, due to the fact that they were always loyal to "go over to Nauvoo for Conferences or any special meeting."
|Daguerreotypes and Illustration of the Nauvoo Temple|
By the end of the 1841 harvest, Warren reveals that "almost daily new settlers came" where "several hundred families had settled in that locality." As a result, the "little colony was organized by the prophet Joseph Smith" as the String Prairie Branch, which "belonged to the Ambrosia Ward." He states that their "meetings were held in private houses...the congregation would set on the floor if there chanced to be one. If not, we brushed our pants in that locality and set down on the ground or stood up."
After more families moved into String Prairie, there was a need for someone to teach school during the winter months. Because Alfred had previous experience teaching in the district schools in New York, "he was employed to teach the only school and first one in that locality, which was his custom to do each winter."
With the influx of settlement, there was also a need for a post office, based on the fact that "there was no means of receiving mail." Because Alfred had prior experience as a Post Master while living in North Hammond, New York, he devised a petition that the citizens signed and "sent to Washington" requesting a post office. Consequently, on September 3, 1842, Alfred B. Child was appointed as the Post Master of the String Prairie Post Office, "which office he held as long as he remained in the county." The money that Alfred received from this job, along with teaching school, was used to replace the means of transportation that the Child family parted with during their hostile and overwhelming sojourn in Missouri.
It is interesting to note how fast the Latter-day Saints recovered from the harsh persecutions they endured while in Missouri, which stands as a testament that the Lord blessed his afflicted people to immediately flourish. This pattern of property can be seen on almost every level of the Church during the Nauvoo period. However, when the Church started prospering, the persecution of the Lord's people commenced once again.
Martyrdom of Hyrum and Joseph Smith on June 27, 1844
After the Latter-day Saints spent five years transforming the swampy region of Nauvoo into one of the largest cities in Illinois, the shear size of the Mormon population was viewed as a threat to the surrounding non-Mormon communities. Because newly converted Saints were counseled to gather at Nauvoo from all parts of the United States, Canada, and England, the Church had more than doubled its population in this region to about 16,000 members by 1844. As a result, Governor Thomas Ford of Illinois brought false charges against the leaders of the Church for causing a civil disturbance. When Joseph Smith and the other leaders traveled to Carthage, Illinois to address these false charges, they were imprisoned at the county jail. Shortly after, a mob of about 200 men stormed Carthage Jail, where they shot and killed the prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum on June 27, 1844. In the aftermath, Governor Ford stated that he was disheartened that the prophet's martyrdom did not put an end to the Church, but rather "bound them together closer than ever, gave them new confidence in their faith."
When the latter-day Saints at Nauvoo received the news that Joseph and Hyrum Smith had been brutally murdered, "their deaths cast a gloom of sorrow over the city and surrounding country as the news spread rapidly in every direction." When the sad news reached the Child family in String Prairie, "a shock went through the whole frame" of Alfred's wife Polly. Her son Warren reveals that "Father went immediately to Nauvoo, as further trouble might need his presence, for he was ever on his post when necessary to defend the prophet and the cause of truth."
After Alfred "attended the funeral," the Mormon leaders who were away serving missions returned back to Nauvoo to discuss who would now lead the Church. Because Joseph Smith had conferred the keys of the priesthood leadership upon the quorum of the Twelve Apostles before his death, the succession of the prophet's mantle fell upon the senior Apostle and President of the Twelve, Brigham Young. Hence, on August 8, 1844, the Latter-day Saints sustained Brigham Young as the second President of the Church.
|Nauvoo Temple in Hancock County, Illinois|
Reconstructed to Scale
During this meeting, Brigham Young committed the Saints to finish building the House of the Lord, even though he knew that they would abandon the Nauvoo Temple when they departed for the Rocky Mountains. The reason Brigham Young was so adamant after finishing the temple, was based on the spiritual blessings that the Latter-day Saints would receive before their long journey that lay ahead.
|Biblical References of Temples in the Last Days|
One of the principles of the restoration that the missionaries taught the family of Alfred B. Child while in New York, was the use of temples in Christ's true Church during the latter days. Because multiple passages from the Old and New Testament in the Bible make it plain that temples would exist in the last days, this was one more line of evidence that Alfred could not deny. In addition, because none of the Protestant Churches had ever constructed temples, nor claimed to carry out any temple ordinances, Alfred knew that none of these faiths could profess to have the restored gospel.
When the Prophet Joseph Smith received revelation to build the Nauvoo Temple, the Lord revealed how baptisms could be performed for deceased ancestors who had never had the chance to accept the gospel during their lifetime (D&C 124). Alfred must have been impressed with this revelation, based on the fact that this doctrine could still be found in the Bible as well. When the Latter-day Saints started performing baptisms for the dead in the Nauvoo Temple, the Church records reveal that Alfred and Polly Barber Child participated in these sacred ordinances.
The other ordinance that the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith was the temple endowment, which consisted of teachings, covenants, and blessings that were essential for the eternal progression of the Saints. Because the Church leaders realized the significance of this ordinance, they profusely worked day and night in the temple so that 6,000 Saints could receive their endowment before the deadline to leave Nauvoo in April of 1846. However, their April departure date to evacuate Nauvoo was cut short when the Illinois state militia learned of their plans to move to the Rocky Mountains. When the militia was mobilized to persecute the Saints, the leaders of the Church met on February 2nd to start the great exodus two days later. During this time of uncertainty, the remaining Saints that had yet to receive their endowments were called into Nauvoo. As a result, Alfred and Polly Barber Child received their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple on February 7, 1846, which was one of the last sessions before the temple was closed.
|1846 Trail of the Latter-day Saints|
from Nauvoo to Winter Quarters
The three and a half weeks that the latter-day Saints were camped by the Child homestead depleted much of the food that they had brought with them. Once Alfred learned of their destitute situation, he finally understood why the Lord had inspired him seven years earlier to move out to the remote location with no means of transportation. Although the Child family suffered at first, Alfred was exceedingly blessed by the Lord to prosper with a surplus of food that he could give to the Saints in one of their greatest hours of need. The Lord knew the he could depend on Alfred B. Child because he was an honorable man that kept his word and remembered the covenant that he made back in Missouri to never abandon the poor. As a result, his son Warren describes his generosity as, Father's farm was about a mile and a half distance from the camp. He had laid up in store as Joseph of old an abundance of corn, which was literally divided amongst the poor and needy...Father had about 60 bushels of corn in the cribs that they were permitted to take without price, which served the camp for a short time."
|Wagon Train of Mormon Pioneers|
migrating to the Rocky Mountains
Because the spring conditions made it very difficult to travel, it took over four months for the main body of Saints to migrate 300 miles across Iowa. When they reached the banks of the Missouri River, about 3,500 Saints crossed to the west side and set up a temporary settlement called Winter Quarters (Omaha, Nebraska). Here they prepared for their upcoming journey to the Rocky Mountains, while they waited out the winter of 1846-47. By the time the Child family caught up with the tail end of the wagon train, they decided to settle with the 2,5000 Saints on the east side of the Missouri River, which was called Kanesville (Council Bluffs, Iowa). The journal of Warren states that the Child family "settled on Little Pigeon Creek," where they "went further up the river and formed a settlement named Puncah."
|Temporary Settlement of the Saints|
at Winter Quarters, Nebraska
|1,400-Mile Trail of the Mormon Pioneers|
from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City
Around this same time period, Brigham Young asked for volunteers to stay back and assist the incoming Saints on their journey west. Because Alfred B. Child had previously signed the covenant that Brigham Young had drafted to never forsake the poor, he did not want to disappoint the prophet, nor break his covenant with God. For this reason, the Child family did not leave with the main body of Saints in 1848, but rather stayed in Iowa with Orson Hyde, who was serving as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The church knew that they could depend on honorable men like Alfred B. Child, because he had already helped the Latter-day Saints in their last two migrations from Far West and Nauvoo.
While Alfred and his sons assisted the Saints in their preparations for moving west, he sustained his family by establishing a prosperous farm once again. His son Warren reveals that "wild bees abounded" in Kanesville, where the Child family had several bee stands because "Father was an expert in bee hunting." Warren also indicates that "during the winter time, Alfred with this boys used to go into the frontier settlements of Missouri and work to procure such necessities as were needed for the family."
By the time the 1850 census records were taken, the majority of Alfred's children had married, where only Warren and Orville still resided with their parents. It was around this same time period that Alfred and Polly received the tragic news that their eldest son Mark Alfred Child had died unmarried at the young age of twenty-seven. In 1844, Mark joined the United States Army at Ft. Leavenworth, where he marched to California and fought in the Mexican-American War between 1846-47. During the fierce battle, Mark was shot in the leg and received a lance wound in the neck, where soon after he was discharged with a disability pension. After he recovered from his wounds, he established a ranch in Ripper, California, where Mark was killed by a group of hostile Indians after they raided his herd and ambushed his posse in a narrow canyon. Hence, the sojourn of the Child family in Kanesville was by far their most difficult because Alfred and Polly had lost their eldest and youngest sons within a short span of time.
|Map of Alfred B. Child's Migration as a Latter-day Saint|
to Ogden, Utah
While the various groups of Latter-day Saints departed for the Rocky Mountains each year, a few of Alfred's married children decided to join them. As a result, Polly Ann and Phebe were the first pioneers of the Child family to arrive in the Salt Lake Valley in 1850. By the following year, Myron and Hannah arrived with their families and settled in Ogden, Utah. By September 1851, the Church had made the decision that the settlement of Kanesville, Iowa, was no longer to be used as a staging point for the Saints. Consequently, Brigham Young appointed Ezra T. Benson and Jedediah M. Grant to lead the remaining Saints to Utah the following year. When the church abandoned Kanesville on June 28, 1852, the number of Latter-day Saints that departed made this emigration the largest group of pioneers to cross the plains. Although four of Alfred's married children had previously migrated to Utah, his son John L. Child assisted his parents in their company. Hence, Alfred B. Child served as a "Captain of Ten" in the 1852 Uriah Curtis Company that was led by Ezra T. Benson.
|Only Known Photos of|
Alfred Bosworth Child and Polly Barber Child
Although the route across the plains had been well established by the Mormon Pioneers that preceded the 1852 emigration, the long trek was still arduous with its share of trials. The journal of Warren reveals that they "had several cases of cholera in our camp while traveling," where a few pioneers "were interred in coffins by the roadside." After traveling three months, the Child family "arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on the first day of October in 1852 and settled in Ogden, where we commenced making preparations for the winter." While Alfred's sons "hauled pine logs from the mountains and built a log house," the health of their father weakened to the point that "confined him to his bed" by November. Because Alfred's responsible nature pushed him to look out for the stragglers at the rear of the wagon train, the amount of dust that he inhaled caused "a severe cold that settled in his lungs, which brought on a long fever." After being confined to his bed for almost two months, Alfred B. Child passed away on December 22, 1852, at the age of fifty-six. The Child family buried their beloved father and patriarch a few days later in the Ogden City Cemetery, as one of the earliest burials in this valley.
|Tombstones of Alfred and Polly Barber Child|
in Ogden Cemetery, Utah
Alfred's widow Polly never remarried during the remaining thirty years of her life, but rather focused on serving the Latter-day Saints in Ogden as a naturopathic healer. Her son Warren states that "Mother was the physician of the family and considered to be a very good one. As the county became settled, she was usually sent for, sometimes to go distances ranging from one to ten miles to prescribe and wait on the sick." In addition, Warren relates that Polly's specialty was midwifery, "a profession she followed for 50 years. She was quite an expert in horseback riding, often riding a distance of 20 miles on a strange horse, frequently at nighttime and sometimes storming. No kind of weather would deter her from responding to an urgent call of this kind. She was usually very successful and considered one of the best of her day, seldom ever losing a case."
After Polly Barber child fulfilled her mission in this life, she passed away on February 4, 1883, at the age of eighty-four. A few days later, the Child family buried her next to her husband in Ogden City Cemetery. Polly's obituary stated that six of her twelve children were still living at her death, where she left behind 88 grandchildren and 114 great grandchildren, who were all faithful members of the Church. In addition, Polly "introduced hundreds of children into this world...She had practiced midwifery for a period of fifty years, during which time she dressed over 2,000 infants." Elder Lorin Farr spoke at her funeral and said he "knew of no person who more fully answered and had better the title to the name of Sister, Mother, or Saint that she whose remains were then lying before them...She had always been firm in the faith, and true to the Kingdom of God, under all the persecutions and trying circumstances in which she had been placed." Elder Lester Herrick also spoke at her funeral and said, "If there were any better women living than Mother Child has always been, he did not know where they are. In this community, she has been as kind as a ministering angel among the people in their afflictions. She was a lady of intelligence and large experience. Her mission here was one of love and she filled that mission most faithfully."
In conclusion, Alfred B. Child is by far the greatest ancestor in the ascendant bloodline that has ever used the Child surname, based on how much he sacrificed to find truth and righteousness. Although Alfred was destitute according to materialistic wealth, where he was temporarily poorer than all of his Child ancestors, there is no doubt that he was the most spiritually rich and divinely blessed of all his Child kin. While he started out with no inheritance, Alfred migrated to the frontier region of New York in 1822, where he used his work ethic to become a prosperous and prominent citizen during the next sixteen years. After Alfred heard the principles of the restoration for the first time in 1838, he recognized the truthfulness of the gospel by being receptive to the Holy Spirit and considering the supporting scriptures from the Bible. It is evident that Alfred's conversion drove him to stand up for truth and righteousness, by forsaking everything that he had previously worked so hard for. Hence, Alfred's faith and love for the Lord can clearly be measured by how much he sacrificed for the gospel's sake.
There is no doubt that Alfred B. Child was a man of exceeding great faith. For after he had forsaken his house, land, family, and friends in North Hammond to join the main body of Saints in 1838, he endured some of the most severe persecutions that the Church encountered while in Missouri. He was loyal to the prophet Joseph Smith and defended the cause of the Saints, only to be taken prisoner by the Missouri state militia. After the cruel mobs took most of his material possessions, Alfred made a covenant to never abandon the poor when the Saints were driven out of Missouri to Quincy, Illinois in 1839. As a result, the pure love of Christ shone through Alfred when he took up the cause of the widow's mite by giving away his last horse to a poor Saint. Because Alfred had cast in all that he had to assist the main body of Saints, this selfless sacrifice will forever echo through the eternities as a measure of his love for the Lord.
After Alfred set out on foot to find his family a new home, the Spirit led him to a remote location in Lee County, Iowa, where the Lord would use him once again to help the main body of Saints in one of their greatest hours of need. During the Nauvoo period, the Child family rebounded when the Lord blessed them with a prospering farm that was similar in size to the one they previously owned in New York. In addition, Alfred was blessed to teach school during the winter months and maintain the local post office, which were the same positions that he previously held in New York.
Even during prosperous times, the level of Alfred's faith can be measured as he helped build the Nauvoo Temple, performed baptisms for the dead, and attended special meetings and conferences. Alfred's love for the Lord was clearly manifested when he fed over 23,000 destitute Saints that were camped near his home on Sugar Creek in 1846. Once again, Alfred took up the cause of the widow's mite when he gave away all of his corn supply (60 bushels) to the main body of Saints at no cost. When the prophet asked the Saints to migrate to Winter Quarters, Alfred heeded his council by forsaking seven years of hard work that he invested in his homestead at String Prairie. When the Child family ran out of food on their journey to Kanesville, instead of regretting that he had given away all his corn, Alfred trekked into Missouri and found odd jobs along the way.
|Summary of Events during the Six Phases|
of Alfred B. Child's Life
When the Child family arrived in Kanesville, Alfred never complained that he had given away his corn to the destitute Saints after a famine spread over the land that winter. Perhaps the greatest sacrifice that Alfred made was seeing his youngest son Asa die when a cholera epidemic swept through their camps. It is astonishing that after everything Alfred had forsaken for the gospel's sake, he never allowed this tragedy to hinder his willingness to continue sacrificing for God. In light of all this, Alfred's love for the Lord can be measured once again when he voluntarily stayed behind in Kanesville to assist the Saints on their journey to the Rocky Mountains. When it was finally his time to migrate, Alfred stayed near the back of the wagon train to help out the stragglers.
Upon their arrival to the Rocky Mountains, Alfred had inhaled so much dust during their journey that he came down with a lung infection that took his life a few months later. It is apparent that Alfred made the ultimate sacrifice by inadvertently giving his life for the gospel's sake. There is no doubt that the Lord preserved Alfred's life until the Rocky Mountains. Alfred's descendants could finally enjoy the religious freedom that he had been seeking his whole life, where his evil persecutors could no longer harm his family, nor take their personal property.
Thus, the last fourteen years of Alfred B. Child's life was spent sacrificing everything he had for the gospel's sake, which clearly earned him the right to forever stand as the father and patriarch of the Child family. Thousands of his descendants have enjoyed the blessings of the restored gospel because of the sacrifices that he specifically made for them. Alfred and Polly Barber Child gave their descendants a legacy and heritage that is magnificent, where all of them can be proud of their faithfulness and love towards God. Because they fought a good fight, they finished their course, and they kept the faith, there is no doubt that Alfred and Polly Barber Child will receive crowns of righteousness for the sacrifices that they made for the Child family.
ALFRED BOSWORTH CHILD
Alfred Bosworth Child was born 19 November 1796 at Greenfield, Saratoga, New York. He was the son of Mark Anthony Child and Hannah Benedict. They were married 8 December 1793. His father was born 10 May 1771.
Alfred married Polly Barber 19 March 1817. It was at Greenfield, New York, that they heard the gospel and were baptized in 1838 by Elder Charles Blakesy. Soon after their baptism they moved to Caldwell County, Missouri, stopping for a few months on the way at Kirtland, Ohio. When this trip was made their family numbered ten. They traveled by a two-horse team. While they were traveling through heavy timbered country en route from Ohio to Caldwell, a wonderful experience happened to the family. A very aged man whose hair was long and white as wool, appeared to them and commencing with the oldest of the family, he shook hands with each one and blessed them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. After which he disappeared as suddenly as he appeared and vanished from sight. Whither he went the family never knew.
While in Caldwell County, the persecutions arose against the saints, in which Alfred and Polly participated. He with his son, Mark, taken by the mob. The best horse they had was appropriated by them and a huge farm also was confiscated by the ruthless invaders. After the release of the two prisoners their remaining horse was traded for one yoke of oxen with which the family moved with the saints in mid-winter.
In February 1839 they arrived in Quincy, Illinois, where they remained for eight months while they recuperated from their destitute condition. When they were able to travel again they went to Lee County, Iowa, where they lived for about seven years. Alfred was appointed Postmaster of the Spring Prairie Post Office and held the position for about six years.
In 1846, at the time of the exodus, they moved to Pottawattamie County, Iowa, where they resided five years while preparing an outfit to carry them across the plains. This being the third home they had sacrificed for the sake of the gospel. While the family was located here, Alfred and his fourteen-year-old son, Warren Gould, went to Missouri to work for provisions. While there Alfred became ill and had to return home.
On 12 July 1852 they commenced their journeying across the plains, arriving in Salt Lake Valley on 1 October 1852. They settled in Ogden, Weber county, where two months later on 22 December, Alfred Bosworth passed away. The hardships of the journey, exposure, and disease of the lungs were more than he could withstand. He left his wife with eight children to care for.
Children of Alfred Bosworth Child and Polly Barber.
Taken from the “Richardson Family Bulletin” March 1960.Company arrived with Uriah Curtis 1 October 1852
THE FIRST MORMON RELIGION TO COME TO OUR FAMILY
Copied and adapted by Gwen Buehler Smith
Written by Warren Gould Barber Child
Mark Anthony Child born 8 December 1771, married 19 November 1793
Hannah Benedict born 1 January 1774
Alfred Child born 8 December 1796, married 19 March 1817
Polly Barber born 30 March 1799
“I will give a synopsis of my father’s life as I remember it and from actual dates as related to me by my mother Polly Barber Child."
My father Alfred Bosworth Child was born 19 November 1796 to Mark Anthony Child and Hannah Benedict in Greenfield, Saratoga County, New York. My father married, to Polly Barber, 19 March 1817. They remained close to the homestead till 1826 when most of the family moved to St. Lawrence, New York, to a new farm. At this time there came into town one George E. Beakely, a Mormon Elder, who after a time succeeded in getting few to come out to hear the strange doctrine of the new Prophet, known as Joseph Smith. He met with little success in the neighborhood. My father after hearing him several times continued to investigate the doctrine.
On June 5, 1838, my father, his wife Polly, Mark A., Polly Ann, Myron, and Hanna P. were baptized, the rest of the family under age for baptism.
We started for Kirtland, Ohio, on August 11 of the same year. We were 10 in number then. We embarked on a mail streamer up the St. Lawrence River, crossing Lake Ontario, and landing at Lewiston, a short distance below the great Niagara Falls. Father having whipped his team and wagon and such as he could. All the family was loaded in the wagon. We started by land via way of Buffalo, New York, and the Forest Easton Ohio, arriving in Kirtland some time in September.
It was while traveling through a dense forest in Ohio that a very singular incident occurred. The road was quite narrow and seemingly little traveled, though the forest was quite clear of underbrush at this particular point. There was two other teams traveling in the same direction as we were. We were casually acquainted with them at this point. They were not of our faith, but made very pleasant company for us in traveling in a comparatively wild and savage country. All was still around us except the slight jolting of our wagon wheels or an occasional chirping of the birds.
The family was all riding in the wagon with the sides of our painted cover rolled up a few feet at the sides and fastened with strings to buttons on the bows to admit the fresh air and permit the family to view the various changes along the roadsides. When a voice was heard to say "who?". Our team being in the lead, and the other two following close in the rear. Father sitting in the front driving, had not heard, or seen any person in that vicinity. At the word "Who?" from a strange voice, the team stopped so suddenly that the teams traveling behind came in contact with our wagon. When Father recovered a little from the sudden and so abrupt stop, a personage walked unconcernedly up to the wagon. He had the appearance of being very aged, well dressed with an unusual long white beard, tidy in his appearance from head to foot. Apparently about six feet in height of rather spare build. He had a very pleasant and happy look on his face. He asked no questions as to who we were, or where we were going, but proceeded to shake hands with the family, commencing with father first, then mother and each of the children according to age, blessing them in the name of Jesus Christ. The writer being the next to the youngest.
After getting through the family, he turned to me the second time and promised a further and special blessing, placing his hands on my bare head. Without further words he slowly passed on. Father expected he would do likewise with the family behind us, but he simply made a light bow as he passed them. Some of the family got out to hail him and get a further explanation of so strange and unlooked for occurrence. The visit was so sudden and unlooked for that not a word had been spoken by the family. They went quickly to the rear and to their surprise he was no where to be seen. They made a hasty search in every direction, he was no where to be found. No tracks were found.
The families traveling with us remarked that we had received a very strange blessing from a stranger. Upon arriving in Kirtland, father related the occurrence to the Prophet Joseph Smith. He told father that the stranger was no other than one of the Nephites who were permitted not to taste death and that they made occasional visits where they were permitted.
While in Kirtland, the Prophet Joseph, taking the writer then 3 1/2 years old in his arms and carried him up the different flights of stairs.
The family stayed in Kirtland only a few weeks. Under the direction of the Prophet, we continued our journey to Missouri. We arrived some time in October of the same year. Father purchased a farm in Shal Creek, Coldwell County. On the farm were several cribs of corn on the ear, which served us and the team for food during the winter of 1838-9. However, before spring came we were relieved of our best horse, which was confiscated by the mob which invaded the county as they also did Jackson and other adjacent counties where the Saints were settled. The Saints were in constant fear of more cruel raids being made on them at any moment. Father and Mark, my oldest brother, were taken prisoners with many of the other brethren, including the Prophet. During this time, mother had to devise every way to procure food for the family. Most of our little store being exhausted or confiscated by the mob. My brother Myron, the oldest left home, being then quite young, helped mother get the loan of the neighbor’s horse to work with the one we had left. Start for Jackson County to get such supplies as was necessary to feed and cloth the family. Myron was a great help with the team of horses.
During this time, Brother David W. Patten was mortally wounded on Crooked River. Our team was used to carry him to a place of safety. The persecution such as driving peaceful citizens already poverty stricken from their homes and possessions was hard to bear. Some still have deeds to their property to this day.
We left Missouri and arrived the first of March at West Hawk on the Mississippi River. We had exchanged our only horse for a yoke of cattle which pulled our wagon. The greater portion of the family walking bare footed on the frozen ground, we had to stop a week to 10 days and wait for the floating ice to clear before boats could cross.
I can’t remember his name, but he was very kind to us and let us occupy one room in his home. We put down bed rolls at night.
Soon the river was down so we could cross. The wagon and team going first. The family followed in the second boat. We landed in Quincy.
The roads were too muddy to try to go on. Father rented a farm four miles from Quincy. After we harvested some corn, wheat, and a few varieties of vegetables, my father and brother Mark started on foot to locate a suitable place in Nauvoo.
The locality selected as situated between Big and Little Sugar Creek about six miles from Nauvoo, near the east banks of the Mississippi. 160 acres of land was staked off, and the family was sent for.
The family brought as many supplies as possible in such a small wagon. It had to last us till new crops could be planted.
During the winter we had to build fences and get the ground ready for crops in the spring. Everyone that was old enough had to help. The smaller ones would gather wood to burn during the winter.
Mark went out hunting for wild game to replenish our food. He would bring home deer, wild turkey or bacon.
We never let the fire go out. If it did by accident, we would light it with flint. The last one to go to bed had to build the fire up. And once in the night, we took turns building it up again.
Mother was a very good nurse, she was considered one of the best. No matter if it was bad weather, or night. She always went to help. She rode a horse very well.
After awhile there was a post office, father was the Post Master. It was called the String Prairie Post Office. The following winter he was employed to teach the only school and first one in the locality which as his custom to do each winter as long as he remained in the state, as he had acquired in his youth over an average education of his day.
Father’s brother, John Child, came to visit us. He brought with him $200.00 that belonged to father. He put it in a tin box where he kept the money. One night a stranger came and asked if he could stay the night. We let him. When he left, we discovered that the money was gone. This was a great loss to father and mother.
There lived about a half a mile to the north a couple by the name of Need. He had lost a leg in the Revolutionary War. They had joined the Church. The neighbors had helped him build a small house on the portion of Father’s farm. Their principal support was from contributions. One day my sister Phebe and myself were sent to carry some food to them. There was a path through brush and timbers that was about half the distance. Rattlesnakes were quite thick and dangerous everywhere. We were barefooted, and on our return I was ahead, and stepped on a substance that felt soft and cold. I jumped back, a large rattlesnake clinging coiling himself around my right foot, having stuck his fangs just to the side of my foot. I assisted my sister in killing the monster, she carried it home on a stick. By the time we arrived, the poison had nearly reached my knee. The sensation, as I remembered it, was the feeling that my leg had been cut off at that point. All remedies at hand were quickly applied by Mother. There was no doctor in the area. Three weeks I lay there between life and death, the poison reaching nearly to my hip, before it could be checked. When I had sufficiently recovered to get up, my right leg had drawn up so bad that I could only go on my knees. Of later by means of crutch which condition lasted over six months, before I could straighten my leg sufficiently to walk.
How well I remember the day the news reaches us of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. Mother was out on the lawn. The party bringing the news rode up on horseback and asked if he had heard the news. Mother felt that it was bad news, as her whole body began to shake. He said “that old Joe Smith had been killed at last and that they or we would have no further trouble with him." Cursed and rode on to tell others. Father went immediately to Nauvoo as further trouble might need his presence, as he was ever on his post when necessary to defend the Prophet and the cause of truth.
In February 1846 the people started to move from Nauvoo in covered wagons. They crossed the river when it was frozen, and camped on Big Sugar Creek, near our place. The snow was a foot deep, and they were delayed for 3 weeks.
Father closed up his business and followed their furrowed trail that had been made in the storm and wind. Leaving his possessions of seven years of hard labor to the mercy of the enemy who were trailing us on every hand, their bloody work already commenced on the remnants of our people that had no means of going with the rest.
Our little caravan consisting of two wagons drawn by yokes of oxen. On the 10th of June descended Soap Creek Hill, which is very steep. So much so that the chain lock to the wagon I was driving gave way and the wagon pressed onto the oxen so they were unable to hold it. Mother was sitting on the front and her feet hanging over. She was thrown out between the two oxen. The oxen trying to hold the wagon, crushed her. We couldn’t get her until we reached the bottom of the hill.
In the impoverished condition of the saints and bad weather at this season of the year, they having but little time for preparation. There was great privations endured and many had to be left at recurring points on the way at places christened by the Saints, Garden Grove, Mt. Pasco. Where the brethren went to the nearest point in Missouri to get work and buy supplies for their families. Some times they would meet up with the advanced party teams, at the Missouri River. They were sent back to bring up those that were left behind that had no teams or means of leaving Nauvoo.
A swollen stream had washed away a bridge. We got some wood from some nearby timber and built the bridge again. After which many wagons passed over.
July 5, 1852, they started for Salt Lake Valley. They arrived October 1st the same year, having traveled in wagon drawn by oxen and cows over 1,000 miles across the plains. He and his wife were prominent in the building up of Utah. She was a midwife for many years.
© Elaine Johnson. Descendants may make copies of this document for themselves and their families. No other use is authorized.
Alfred Bosworth Child
15 November 1796 - 22 December 1852
by Elaine Johnson
Alfred's grandfather, Increase Child, was a captain in the American Revolution and was impressed by the country of upper New York state when he passed through it with General Gates army. Afterward, he settled in Saratoga county. Alfred was born in Greenfield to Mark Anthony and Hannah Benedict Child. His mother was born in Woodstock, Connecticut, where the Childs had resided before the war. Saratoga county is on the western side of the Hudson River. Alfred grew up as the oldest of eleven children. There were twins, a boy and a girl, born before him, but they died at birth.
On 19 March 1817 Alfred married Polly Barber of Greenfield and they moved north to
Morristown on the St. Lawrence River. The following year he received news of his mother's death. The Alfred B. Child family was living in Boonville, Oneida, New York in 1820. A child was born to Alfred and Polly in Ballston, Saratoga county, in 1821. But the next child was born in Morristown in 1825. About 1828 he moved his family up river to Hammond where he also farmed. During the 1830 census Alfred's family resided in Gouverneur almost fifteen miles southeast of Hammond. In 1837 another child was born in Ogdenburg, up river from Morristown.
They seem to have lived in almost every corner of St. Lawrence county except Stockholm township where the prophet Joseph Smith Jr.'s grandfather lived until his death in 1831.
Alfred and his wife were baptized 5 June 1838. He sold his farm and moved his family to Kirtland, Ohio, but the main body of the church had moved on to Missouri. After a few months they continued to Caldwell county, Missouri, where he bought a farm.
A public meeting was held in Far West. A committee was assigned to devise the best way to aid the poor in fleeing from Governor Boggs' death threat and how many poor were worthy of help. They were to draft a resolution of the plan for the next meeting. The resolution was signed by many including “Alfrod B. Childs.”
Alfred took his family to Lee county, Iowa, and in 1840 bought a farm in Half Breed
Reservation. The Child family were members of the Iowa Territory Branch of the church. It was located in the town of Zarahemla. Erastus Snow, George A. Smith, Wilford Woodruff, and Ezra T. Benson and their families were also members of the branch. He was Endowed at the Nauvoo Temple 7 February 1846 in the last session conducted there and sealed to his wife the same day.
When the Saints were forced out of Nauvoo, Alfred again sold his farm and moved west to Council Bluffs in 1847. The High Priests Record recorded in Pottowattamie county gives his residence on the north branch of the Pigion river. He bought another farm and made improvements before selling to move westward as part of Uriah Curtis' ox-team company.
After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, Alfred took his family to the more northern settlement of Ogden, Weber county. Alfred started a sawmill in Ogden, but had been weakened by the long journey to find safety for his family and the hardships of starting over so often. His grave in the Ogden City Cemetery is one of the oldest and reads only Alfred B. Child.1
The somewhat eventful history of Mr. Alfred Bosworth Child, which we here annex, is furnished by one of his sons, Warren Gould Child, who passed through many of the experiences of the father, and has much of his zeal for the Mormon faith:
Alfred Bosworth Child, my father, was married to Polly, daughter of Ichabod and Anne Deake Barber. He soon after his marriage moved to the town of Morristown, St. Lawrence county, New York, where he purchased a small farm, of which he cleared and cultivated some thirty acres, and through economy and industry acquired a limited amount of property. It was here, in the year 1837, that the principles of Mormonism were sounded in his ears, and after a careful investigation of the same he embraced Mormonism, sold his farm and moved west to Kirtland, Ohio. Staying there but a few months, he then left with his family for Caldwell county, Missouri, where he arrived in the fall of the same year having made the entire journey with only one team consisting of two horses.
The family had been settled upon a farm purchased by them, when the persecutions commenced upon the Mormons. We were compelled to leave the following spring. The farm and one horse were taken and confiscated by the mob.
He settled in Lee county, Iowa, in the year 1840, taking up and improving a farm on what was known as the half breed track, remaining there about seven years. In 1841, he accepted the position of postmaster at what is known as Spring Prairie post office, which position he held as long as he remained in the county, which he left through the persecutions of the Mormon people, in 1847. He then started further West, travelling through that portion of the state which at that time was inhabited by the Pottowattamie Indians. He settled again at or near where Council Bluffs City, Iowa, now stands, taking up and improving another farm on which he lived about five years.
Salt Lake Valley having been selected as a last resort for the more peaceful settlement of the Mormon people, he again, now the fourth time, left all he had.
On the 8th day of July, 1852, he started for Salt Lake Valley, where he arrived on the first day of the following October, having travelled in wagons drawn by oxen and cows over one thousand miles across uninhabited desert and mountainous country. On the 22nd day of the next December he died of disease of the lungs, brought on through exposure and the hardships of his journeyings. His age was 56 years, 1 month and 7 days. He left a wife with four sons and three daughters.2
PO Box 755
Rexburg ID 83440-0755
1 The original marker has been replaced with a new one.
2 “Genealogy of the Child, Childs and Childe families . . .”, by Elias Child, page 95
© Elaine Johnson. Descendants may make copies of this document for themselves and their families. No other use is authorized.Life of Alfred B. Child
Alfred Bosworth Child was born on 15 November 1796, in Milton, Saratoga County, New York, son of Mark Anthony Child and Hannah Benedict.
Alfred B. Child was raised in a very religious home. His father was instrumental in establishing the first Universal Church of Greenfield, Saratoga County, New York. This church believed in the Bible as printed with explanations from his grandfather, Captain Increase Child and his Uncle William Child's printing press.
Alfred's picture shows that he was a large man with a rounded face. He wore the fashionable long sideburns and beard, typical of pioneers of the day. Alfred had a good head of dark brown hair, which was well groomed with some recession, typical of his age. Alfred was a handsome man with a prominent Child nose and high cheekbones. He was robust with a jolly stomach, showing his prosperity. He was a leader and a patriarch of his family, which now numbers in the thousands.
Alfred learned to work on his father's land and learned farming. We know nothing at all of his childhood and growing into manhood. Our story is taken from 4 sources and blended from each mostly in their own words.
1. A short history of Alfred.
2. His wife, Polly Barber.
3. His daughter, Polly Child Richardson.
4. His son, Warren Gould Child.
Alfred met Polly Barber, daughter of Ichabod Barber and Annie Drake, born 29 March 1799 in Greenfield, Saratoga County, New York. The couple fell in love and were married 19 March 1817. Soon after they were married, Alfred and Polly moved to Morristown, St. Lawrence County, New York. He took up a farm and with the aid of a hired man cleared 30 acres for cultivation. In 1820, he sold his farm of 100 acres to Mr. Taylor, a native of Scotland. He bought another farm, 160 acres, in the same town for $10.00 an acre. This farm was on the banks of the St. Lawrence River and was covered with trees.
From Polly Child Richardson's history, we learn that 3 generations of Child's were born in this area. The Kyadeross Mountains surround this area, and it must have been very pleasant, especially in the summer time when the cooling saline breezes of the Atlantic often traversed up the Hudson River; giving a climate much like the sea coast. The deep ravines and valleys cut irregularly into the mountainsides, the marshes and swamplands at the headwaters of the Hudson River. Numerous stands of beech, maple, wire and hemlock must have contributed immensely to the pleasure and enjoyment of growing and raising a family in this area.
We are not sure whether Alfred and Polly were farmers or stock raisers. The stony, rough earth of the area would lend itself to the possibility that he was a stock raiser, since the ground is more suitable for pasture than farming.
On 5 June 1837, Polly and her parents were baptized and confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This day is important because it marks the severance of the old, fairly secure, and comfortable life, insecure arduous future they were to endure. By August 11, the entire family had turned their backs on three generations of family and begun the long, laborious trek to join the Saints in Jackson County, Missouri.
Sometime prior to June 1837, the Child's had been contacted by a missionary named Charles Blakely. Alfred evidently was sufficiently convinced of the truthfulness of the message that he was willing to sell his farm in Greenfield, pile his belongings into a wagon and suffer hardships of a 1,500 mile journey to Missouri.
Polly's statement: "My father came the entire route with one pair of horses and a wagon and ten in family."
It takes little imagination to fill in the blanks in Polly's statement.
Carrying food, clothing, bedding, cooking utensils and a few meager spare parts in the wagon; thus, most of the 1500 miles would have been traversed on foot, sleeping in tents, or under the wagon at night in this sparsely settled and often savage wasteland. One must admit that a journey of this sort required a great deal of courage and fortitude, courage and fortitude that would be tested to the breaking point within a few short months.
On the way to Kirtland a man neatly dressed, having a white beard, stopped the wagon and came over to them and laid his hands on each member of the family and blessed them. He then came back and blessed Warren G. again and then disappeared and later Alfred told the Prophet Joseph Smith about the incident. He was told that the man was one of the three Nephites.
Alfred's destination was Kirtland, Ohio, about one-third of the distance to Jackson County. Here we hoped to join up with a body of moving Saints, who were moving from Kirtland to Missouri. However, events moved faster than he did, for many of the Mormons had vacated the city by the time he arrived. "The Saints had left a few days before we arrived." The city of Kirtland offered the Child family only a brief respite from the rigors of the trek. They stayed a few days, resting the animals and replenishing supplies before returning to the well-defined trail of Saints moving west. They had been traveling almost a month by the time they reached Kirtland, and would be another month and a half to two months before they reached their destination in Missouri.
It was late fall when the Child family finally reached Missouri. Here after months of back-breaking travel, they found a temporary resting place at Adam-ondi-Ahman, in Daviess County. Polly describes the place as a city of tents and wagons.
However, one may well imagine the hardships the family must have had to experience that first winter in Adam-ondi-Ahman. They arrived too late in the fall to plant crops or prepare adequate shelter against the rapidly approaching winter. They would have to live as they traveled, in the meager shelter of the wagon, or in a tent pitched on the frozen ground. It would be spring before a house could be built, land cleared and crops planted. In the meantime they must share and share in whatever sustenance was available for the entire community.
"Some time during that year (1838), possibly in the spring, my father let his wagon go towards a piece of land." This land was located on Shole Creek, Caldwell County, Missouri.
Mother Polly wrote a letter to her relatives in New York and in it she explained that the Saints had been driven from Missouri to Illinois. She explains that their flight had taken them up to Far West where they stayed for a short time. We assume from the letter that they settled below Far West in either Caldwell or Ray County. The people here showed sympathy for the Saints in times past.
It was undoubtedly comforting to sink their roots into the soil again. I am sure that Alfred and his entire family looked forward to the security that a good crop and a new home would bring. The hope for security was not forthcoming, however, for in February 1839 they, with the remainder of the Mormons in Missouri, were driven into Illinois at gunpoint.
Polly Barber Child gives us a look at what took place. "Fear, jealousy, and political ambition led an onslaught of persecution which rolled over Mormon people like a great wave tumbling and rolling them before it like so much flotsom and jetsom."
Some of the fear and determination of the time is mentioned in a letter by Mrs. Child. "Alfred was called to go to Diammon. It was evening. Some of the brethren came and said the order was, that every man that was able, and family, will help what he could for the mob was gathering fast. Already at Grindstone, some five or six hundred, just a few miles away. I was getting supper. I stopped motionless, until one of them asked me if I was willing that he, Alfred, should go. All fear, all fluttering of the heart was gone from me. I was all calm as ever I was when sitting in hour house, mother. In the morning, it was Monday, he came home on Friday. It was thought to go to Diammon for safety."
From Polly Child's daughter. "The men were taken prisoners, My father and eldest brother Mark, were taken with the rest of them but they did not keep them very long. They let all the men go except the leaders of the Church, with orders for all of them to leave the state. 15 days warning. They took heads of church or most of them and put them in prison while the rest had a hard struggle to get out of the state. Mother Polly Child took our leave, a span of horses and wagon and with Myron Barber Child, a small boy, started to Far West, about 18 miles away from where we were living, for supplies. While on the way, news was received of the shooting of David Patten, in the Battle of Crooked River, and her team was taken to bring the body to Far West."
The Child family was forced to flee the State of Missouri in dead of winter, leaving behind a large farm - confiscated by the ruthless invaders - as well as their best horse without compensation. The best horse Alfred had, was stolen by the mob or taken. He traded another for a yoke of cattle with which he moved the family to Quincy, Illinois, where he rented a farm from Mr. Bartlet and cultivated it for one season.
The oldest living daughter, Polly, presents a very pathetic picture of her family and Mormons in general as a result of the forced exodus. "A few of us had teams and some had to go on foot, across the frozen prairie, destitute of food and clothing... there was a great deal of suffering by women and children before we got to the Mississippi River - the line between Missouri and Illinois. When we got to the river the ice was running so that we could not cross. Consequently we had to camp there for the next three weeks before we could cross into Illinois. By that time it was the middle of March. I will not attempt to describe suffering of the Saints up to that time, as you have history of Saints to read."
Can you imagine the misery that Polly was describing. Alfred homes and subjected to the rigors of winter on the prairie, not knowing where they were going or what they were going to do. How can any of us today appreciate what these people bore? What our ancestors family bore? It defies the imagination as it defies description and this was merely a foretale of what the future held.
By the end of March the river was sufficiently clear that the Child family was able to cross over into Illinois. Alfred and Polly stopped in the vicinity of Quincy, Illinois, there they remained throughout the summer of 1839. Polly and Polly took in washing to help maintain the large family.
Mrs. Child again supplies details, stating that in March, the oldest living son, worked for two weeks on the railroad, didn't like it, so he hired out to Mr. Thompson, a real old fashioned Baptist man from the state of Maine for eight dollars a month, a half mile from home. Polly worked there two weeks and three days for six dollars. "They would pay her two dollars a week all summer if I could let her come, but the baby is so unwell with his ulcers and leg that it takes one of us all the while to just take care of him."
Spring Prairie was located in Ambrosia Ward, Zarahemla Stake, the fifth Stake of the Church. Church was held in different homes of the members in that area. The calling that was given Alfred and his family, by the Prophet Joseph Smith, was to stay in Iowa and help the Saints that were coming west.
In November of 1839, Alfred decided to move again. The new farm was located in the state of Iowa, just across the river from Commerce or Nauvoo, as it was called now. Polly, the daughter, called or describes it as "halfbreed land as it was purchased from Black Hawk Indians." Unfortunately, winter arrived before Alfred had the house finished. Evidently, Polly and her mother didn't go immediately and Alfred went to build a house. The description is as follows: "Just the body of the house and a few slabs on top that he had hewn out of logs for the roof. We had no floor. We built a fire on the ground, as we had no chimney." The move evidently took what little money the combined efforts of the family had accumulated during the summer. "My father had his house unfinished and him and my two oldest brothers had to go find work to get something to eat. My mother took in work and worked for 75¢ a week. We all done all we could to live until spring. The nearest neighbor in half breed track was five miles distance."
With the coming of spring, the fortune of the family seemed to be infused with a swelling, a newness of life. By the assistance of his boys, he fenced and put into cultivation quite an extensive farm on which he planted out a large peach and apple orchard. (From the journal of Warren Gould Child).
The whole family worked continuously at any and all jobs they could find. Polly taught school as several families had moved into the area by 1842. Alfred was elected Postmaster in their little settlement called Spring Prairie, Iowa.
Alfred planted flax and harvested a large crop, so large in fact, that Polly and her mother Polly spent a larger portion of 1843 spinning it and making it into clothes. "The cloth was made into clothes for the children and pants and shirts for father. We made sheets and pillow cases and we made dresses of flax." Polly captures the happiness and prosperity they were enjoying in the following lines: "Father attended to the office and with the help of my brothers, had a nice farm. We got along splendidly."
In 1839, in a letter Polly says this about the gospel and she is writing to her family. "Yes, there has never been the smallest moment or thought flit across my mind like wishing I had never had embraced the gospel and come here. No, my friends, there is peace and comfort to the true believer of the gospel. Mother says that we have caused her a great many sleepless nights and no doubt of it, for I am her child and a great way off. Mother, I am content, not because I like the country. If had never heard of a Mormon, I would rather live here than in New York for we can support our family ten fold easier. But mother, if you come to this country, I will give you old Browny as soon as you get here. She is a first rate cow. We have four cows. Butter has been two schillings a pound, but warm weather has fell it to sixteen cents, money."
"It rained this afternoon and we are both writing. He has left out our fruits in his letter to John. Wild plums grow in abundance. Our peach trees are so full that Alfred had to prop them up to keep the trees from breaking down. Peach trees bears in three years from seed. Hannah and Phoebe and Warren are in school. They learn very fast. I have saved a peach seed for you that was ripe two weeks ago."
In the spring of 1846, Alfred again disposed of his farm for a trifling sum and like many others started West. June found them there at Bluffs as there called, now Pottawattamie County, which was an uninhabited land and country except for Indians known as Pottawattamie Indians, who were very hostile, like all their race would bear watching.
Alfred took up another farm on or near the banks of the Missouri River, near where Bluff City now stands. The land was very fertile and productive especially for corn and vegetables, but not so good for wheat and other small grains. The country abound with wild game such as deer, turkeys, and raccoons. Wild bear also abounded to a considerable extent. A few weeks in the way of a hunting tour was usually indulged in the fall of the year which added to our winter supply of eatables.
During the wintertime, he with the boys used to go into frontier settlements of Missouri and work to procure such necessities as were needed in the family. Our remuneration for a days work would be about 50¢ or 50¢ per hundred for cutting the timber and splitting rails. In this way we procured a scanty fit-out for the great journey to Salt Lake Valley.
On July 1, of 1852 we started on the trail made by the pioneers in the Sixteenth Company of the season under Captain Uriah Curtis as captain. Our teams were two of cattle and one yoke of cows to each wagon and two wagons.
We arrived in Salt Lake Valley on the first day of October, 1852 and settled in Ogden where we commenced making preparations for winter quarters.
In November, Father, Alfred Bosworth was confined to his bed from a severe cold which settled in his lungs and brought on a long fever which terminated in his death on the 22nd day of December, 1852, at the age of 56 years, 1 month and 7 days.
In a letter in 1853, by Polly Barber Child, "I am tired, let us all go into the garden and get some currants and cherries. I have plenty of them this year and you may have as many as you like to dry. I will tell you how to dry them. I don't like to fix in bags, so I take a milk pan and fill it with fruits of any kind I wish to dry. I like raspberries best. Put a lb. of sugar in and set them over the fire and let them stew for 10 or 15 minutes, then pour them in a pan or platter and set them in the hot sun to dry. Stir them once or twice a day and they will dry in about 3 good days. Then when you wish to use them, put them in cold water and then let them boil 20 or 30 minutes and they are ready for use, with or without sugar, just as you like. A few currants with dried apple pies and raspberries for mince pies are a great improvement to taste. I make no preserves now, only in this way. You can have a few at a time and have them fresh. If it is cloudy weather you can set them around the fire, but they aren't as good as when they are dried in the sun."
Also read: Funeral Sermon of Sister Polly Barber Child Journal History, L.D.S. Church 183 February pages 5 and 6 From Warren Gould Child Record or history. The family narrative was recorded in May, 1854.
Pieced together by Sherman A. Child, November and December 1979
found on childgenealogy.org
Excerpts from the TrailSource of Trail Excerpt:Huntington, Polly Berthena, [Interview], in "Utah Pioneer Biographies," 44 vols., 13:198-99, 205.
Read Trail Excerpt:
10. At what place did you join the company or wagon train with which you came to Utah?
10. I came to Utah in a covered wagon drawn by a yoke of oxen and a yoke of cows. I cannot recall the place we joined the wagon train with which we came to Utah.
11. When did it leave for Utah?
11. We left for Utah June or July 1852.
12. What was the place of your destination in Utah? Why did you come to Utah?
12. Our destination was Utah, the place to live was not decided on until we reached Utah and we just kept traveling until we reached Springville where my father decided to make his home.
13. When did you arrive there?
13. We arrived in Springville, about September 1st, 1852.
14. Who was the leader of your company or train?
14. I do not recall who the leader of the company in which we traveled.
15. Method of travel (handcart, ox team, mule team, horseback, etc.)
15. Our method of travel was a covered wagon drawn by a yoke of oxen and a yoke of cows, the cows we milked using the milk for food. All surplus milk was stored in a wooden churn and the motion of the wagon churned our butter.
34. Tell about coming to your state in a covered wagon.
34. I think it interesting to relate some experiences of the early days; in making the journey from Iowa to Utah, the wagon was loaded with essential necessities to last our family until such time as we could raise a crop, also my father, mother, 3 boys and 4 girls a total of 9 persons. Our motive power was 2 yoke of cattle one yoke being cows which we milked, the surplus milk was stored in a wooden churn, the jolting of the wagon would churn the butter. My father's sister died on this trip and she was buried at a place called Devils Gate.
Alfred Bosworth (55) and Polly (Barber)(53) CHILD – Received the restored gospel in New York State, and joined the Saints in Kirtland, then went to Missouri and Nauvoo. He was postmaster at a station along the trail in Iowa. Polly was a pioneer midwife. (1852, Uriah Curtis Co.) ancestry.com
History of Alfred Bosworth Child taken from the journal of Warren Gould Child "I will give a synopsis of my father's life as I remember it and from actual dates as related to me by my mother."
ALFRED BOSWORTH CHILD
My father Alfred Bosworth Child was the son of Mark Anthony Child and Hannah Benedict. He was born 19 November 1796 in the town of Greenfield, Saratoga County, New York. He was raised a farmer and well accustomed to the rude mode of clearing up the heavy timberlands in that part of the country in that early day. It was their custom to cut the trees and log them off, as they would term it; namely, they would build fires in suitable distances apart to make the different lengths in suitable lengths so they could be rolled together in large piles. And the dry wood and limbs that were not used in the fire to burn the logs off was piled with the logs and burned thus, producing a great quantity of ashes. These were gathered up and manufactured into pear lash, which was found a ready market. And from the proceeds of the sales of the same, they would often realize sufficient money to pay a hired hand. After the great trees were cleared off of the land in this manner, they would often sow a crop of seeds and harrow it in amongst the stumps which would sometimes be so close together that there would not be room to pass
between without catching the harrows, which at that date would be of a V shape with hardwood teeth. By keeping the stumps sprouted or in some instance fired to deaden them, they would in a few years begin to rot out and the plow would be used with some better results in their crops. The crops were gathered or cut with the sickle or reaping hook as sometimes called.
The bread had to be raised and the cloth used for their clothing was spun from the flax or wool or both. If wool, it first had to be washed and dried, then picked and carded by hand into rolls, then spun on the hand spinning wheel into yarn. It was then dyed or colored, and by the use of a rude hand loom, it was made or woven into cloth. The flax was grown by similar process to that of growing wheat. Only it had to be pulled by hand and spread in swaths, cured or dried, then bound into bundles and taken to the barn where it remained usually until late in the fall. Then it was taken to some damp piece of ground or marsh and unbound and again spread out in swaths to rot sufficiently to have the lint cleave readily and the stalk brittle. It was then gathered up,
dried and again bound in bundles and taken back to the barn and during the winter broke in the flax brake then taken over the escutcheon board and the escutcheon knife used to separate the sheaves or broken stalk from the flax. When clean, it was put on the hatchel and carded, taking out the rough, coarse and short pieces, which were after used as tow and mangled into rough cloth. The finer fibers are then taken by the wife or the girls and spread on a forked stick called the distaff for convenience of holding the lint while being spun on the little wheel into thread. It was then reeled and knotted ready for the loom from which the cloth is woven that made the shirts and summer pants and usually the sheets, towels, etc.
It is in this manner that he spent his boyhood days in their log cabins with the old fireplace usually broad enough and of a depth sufficient to take in a back and top log. A fire stick, as it was termed, was about four feet long with the small sticks in the center. This was their usual fire when complete. And the pot on the crane for heating and boiling and the bake oven and lid frying pan comprised the cooking utensils used. This with the shovel and tongs made up the whole equipment of the fire place except the fire dogs, most usually of wood but sometimes of iron in the more well to do families. The long winter was thus put in by the older members of the family including the various other barn and farm labor such as threshing the grain. The process of which would be by placing usually twelve sheaves at a time on the barn floor and beating it with the flail until the grain was thoroughly out. Then the straw was raked out and sometimes bound in bundles for convenience in handling. This was done; in like manner another dozen bundles would be placed on the floor and threshed. After a sufficient amount had been threshed to justify a cleaning up and there was sufficient wind blowing to form a good current of air through the barn, the doors would be opened and the winnowing out the chaff, etc., would commence. This was done by holding a measure containing the grain as high above the head as possible and shaking it out in small quantities so as to admit the current of air to separate all light substances from the wheat or other grain. All small grain was threshed and cleaned in this manner. There were no threshing machines and but few fan mills in use in this early day. This was the case with the plow, only a rude concern usually with a wood moldboard; the only iron used in their construction would be an iron point with a few most essential braces. So it was with all other farm implements. Carts were used in place of the fine wagons of today. And thus our parents
of the 17th century and later had to toil to make a living and clothe their families.
I need not describe the usual list of furnishings of a house or the house when a new married couple commenced their first house keeping. It was on the 8th of December 1793 when my grandfather Mary Anthony Child and his wife Hannah Benedict were married and started out in this adventure. It was on the 19th of March,1817 when my father, the subject of this sketch, and Polly Barber married and in like manner commenced in life for themselves. They remained in the vicinity of the old homestead in Greenfield, Saratoga County, New York, until about 1826 when the greater portion of the family removed to St. Lawrence County, New York.
Here they opened up new farms and were in process of improving them when there came into the town or neighborhood one George E. Blakely, a Mormon elder, who after a time succeeded in getting a few to come out to hear the strange doctrine of the new prophet known as Joe Smith. He met with but little success in the neighborhood. My father, after hearing him several times, was somewhat impressed with his doctrine so much so that he continued to investigate them, and on the 5th of June 1838 the following members of the family with himself were baptized: His wife Polly Ann, of his children, Mark A., Polly Ann, Myron B., and Hannah P., the rest being under age for baptism. And on August the 11th of the same year he started with his family, then ten in number, for Kirtland, Ohio, embarking on a mail steamer up the St. Lawrence River crossing Lake Ontario and landing at Lewiston a short distance below the great Niagara Falls having shipped his team and wagon and such of his effects as could be loaded with the family in one wagon drawn by two horses. Thus he started by land via way of the city of Buffalo, New York, and then forests of eastern Ohio, arriving at Kirtland sometime in September.
It was while traveling through quite a dense forest in Ohio that a very singular incident occurred. The road was quite narrow and seemingly but little traveled though the forest was quite clear of underbrush. At this particular point there was by accident two other teams that were traveling in the same direction that we were. As they had fallen in with us but a few days previously, our family was only casually acquainted with them. They were not of our faith but made very pleasant company for us in traveling in comparatively a wild and strange country. At the time all was still around except the slight jostling of our wagon wheels or an occasional chirping of the birds. The family was all riding in the wagon with the sides of our painted cover rolled up a few feet at the sides and fastened with strings to buttons on the bows to admit the fresh air and permit the family to view the varied changes, brooks, etc., by the road side when a voice was heard to say "Whoa". Our team was in the lead and the other two followed close in the rear. Father was sitting in the front driving and had not to that time, when the voice was heard, seen any person in that vicinity. At the word "whoa" from a strange voice, the team stopped so suddenly that the teams traveling behind came in contact with our wagon. When Father recovered a little from the sudden and so abrupt a stop, a personage walked unconcernedly up to the wagon. He had the appearance of being very aged, well dressed with an unusual long white beard, tidy in his appearance from head to foot, apparently about six feet tall of rather spare build, carrying a very pleasant and happy look on his face. He asked no questions as to who we were or where we were going, but proceeded to shake hands with the family commencing with Father first, then Mother, and each of the children according to age, blessing them in the name of Jesus Christ, the writer being the next to youngest in the family at that time. After getting through in this manner he turned to me the second time and pronounced a further and special blessing placing his hand on my bare head. Without further word he slowly passed on. The visit was so sudden and unlooked for that not a word has been spoken by the family. Father expected he would do likewise with the families occupying the two wagons behind us, but he simply made a slight bow as he passed them. Some of the families got out to hail him and get a further explanation of so strange and unlooked for occurrence. They went quickly to the rear and to their surprise; he was nowhere to be seen. They made a hasty search in every direction but he was nowhere to be found. Search in each direction was made in the road for his tracks but none were anywhere to be found. The families traveling with us remarked that we had received a very strange blessing from a stranger. On arriving in Kirtland, Father related the occurrence to the Prophet Joseph Smith and he told him that the personage was none other than one of the Nephites who were permitted not to taste death, and that they made occasional visits where they were permitted to.
The family stopped but a few weeks in Kirtland when under the direction of the Prophet's
council, continued their journey in like manner westward to Missouri. Arriving there sometime in October of the same year, they purchased a farm on Shoal Creek in Caldwell County. While in Kirtland, the family was shown through the temple by the Prophet Joseph. He took the writer, then three and half years old, in his arms and carried him up the different flight of stairs.
With the farm that my Father purchased in Missouri, he got several cribs of corn in the ear, which served us and the team for food during the winter of 1838 and 39. However, before spring came we were relieved of our best horse, which was confiscated by the mob, which invaded the county as they also did in Jackson and other adjacent counties where the Saints were settled. The latter were in constant fear of life and more cruel raids being made on them at any moment. Father and Mark, my oldest brother, were taken prisoners with many others of the brethren amongst who was the Prophet Joseph. During this period Mother had to devise every means to procure food for the family. Much of our little store had been exhausted and confiscated by the
mob. My brother Myron, the then oldest left at home being then quite young, and our only team broken up, she got the loan of a neighbor's horse to work with our remaining one and started for Jackson County to, if possible, get such supplies as was necessary to feed and clothe the family which had been rendered, through invasions that had been made upon them, quite destitute. She took this youth with her to render what help he was able to in caring for the team, etc.
It was during this time that Brother David W. Patten was mortally wounded in Crooked River and their team was used to convey him to a place of safety. Brother (name not given) was also a martyr on this occasion as well as many others. During these persecutions, they drove peaceful citizens already poverty stricken from their homes and possessions which they had purchased. And today many of them hold the deeds for their farms and homes having been compelled to leave them at the sacrifice of their lives as also of their wives and children. Consequently, in February 1829, the limit of time given the Saints to leave the state in the inclemency of the weather, poorly clad and many barefooted. They made a hasty exit from the state taking with them what little movable effects that were left them from the ravages of the mobs that had continuously mobbed, plundered, whipped; and even murdered many of our people as history has already told. Our only horse was exchanged for a yoke of cattle that drew our wagon. The greater portion of the family walked, as already stated, part of them barefooted over the frozen ground and stubs. Arriving on the west bank of the Mississippi River about the first of March, we had to stop a week or ten days for the river to clear off floating ice before boats could cross. While here we received very kind treatment from a Mr. (the name I do not recall) who let us occupy one room in his house in which to make down on the puncheon floor our beds at night. They would be rolled up and carried to the wagon during the day to wrap the smaller children to keep them warm, as there was not room in the two-room log cabin, which was the usual country farmhouse at that time. The raw March winds that swept up or down the great river rendered our condition quite uncomfortable and the few days that we were detained here seemed weeks. As soon as it was considered safe by the boatman to run his boat to the opposite shore, several trial trips were made before taking on freight fearing that the boat would come in contact with large blocks of ice and be capsized. Expert boats men, in case of an accident of this kind, could possibly save themselves by jumping onto these floating blocks which would carry them with comparative safety until rescued below.
On landing our effects, etc., on the east bank of the river in safety, the wagon and team going first with one of the older boys to care for them, the family followed with the second boat. Finding ourselves in the then town of Quincy, Illinois, about one-hundredth the part of its present population and our team being light and reduced by scanty feed, it was decided not to try to proceed further towards Nauvoo until they were recruited as well as our family supplies. It would be almost an impossibility for the one yoke of small cattle to pull our wagon through the muddy roads. Consequently, a small farm was rented of a Mr. Bartlet, about four miles out from Quincy from which sufficient was raised to partly supply food, etc., for the coming winter. It was during this summer that the writer in connection with other members of the family attended their first school. It was taught by a young lady by the name of Powell in a small frame barn after the crops consisting of corn, wheat and a few varieties of vegetables were harvested. My father and brother Mark started on foot to locate a suitable place at Nauvoo or in that vicinity on which to locate. They carried with them as large a supply of food as was convenient to carry with their rifles and change of under clothing for an absence of a month or six weeks. The greater part of the country through which they proposed traveling was wild except an occasional farmhouse. A portion of which was covered with dense bodies of timber of which the white burr and black oak predominated. The ash, elm, hickory, hackberry and birch were quite plentiful as also the fir, iron wood, walnut, butternut and maple. The country abounded with quite a variety of wild fruit such as the crab apple, wild plum, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. The nuts to be found in the forests were the black walnut, butternut and hazel nut. These added at that season of the year more variety to their scanty supplies of food. With an occasional shot at a turkey and other wild game that was quite plentiful at that time as was the wild bee, Father was quite an expert in bee hunting. And my brother being what was termed a pretty good shot, they were pretty well supplied with meat and wild honey, a pretty good food so considered in the days of the prophets and the aborigines of this continent. The remnants of which abounded quite numerous in the locality where they located and erected the first cabin in that vicinity of what was known at that time as the Half-Breed Track. It was owned and occupied by the Black Hawk Indians, their only industry being the manufacture of maple sugar, which they were experts in. I well remember seeing them make the maple sugar that was as white as our leaf or granulated sugar today. This tract so called was afterwards purchased by the government and became the state of Iowa.
The locality thus selected by my father was situated between Big and Little Sugar Creek and about six miles from Nauvoo near the west banks of the Mississippi River, afterward called or belonged to the Ambrosier Ward. One hundred and sixty acres of land was staked off and the family was sent for, arriving there quite late in the fall of 1839. The cabin of one room some 14x16 feet was completed with a good dirt roof and sod fireplace. There was a chimney of split sticks plastered on the inside with clay mortar and the cracks between the rough logs were chinked and daubed with the same material. The door was made of shakes, made with wood pegs as substitutes for nails, with patent wood hinges. The floor was more substantial and firm as the earth, for such it was.
And all felt quite happy and content in their new home amongst the red men of the forest, a happy change to that of our condition and surroundings in the state from which we had just been forced to leave at the point of the guns of our enemies, the noble sons of Missouri.
The small supply of provisions that could be brought in one wagon with the family, drawn by one yoke of cattle, had to be economized to last the family until new crops could be raised. The winter was occupied by all the family that was old enough to work in clearing and preparing the ground making fences, etc., for the spring crop. The writer though small added to the force that was brought into requisition for this purpose and would help gather the small brush to the piles for burning. Though thinly clad and barefooted, though toughened by constant exposure, they were able to endure considerable cold and frost. When they got too cold to no longer endure it, they would run to the hot embers of our burning and stick them in the hot ashes until they got thawed out. Then at our work again, repeating this process as often as father thought it consistent according to the temperature. He had learned by the length of time we could stay out to slide down hill on our little rude sleds that had been constructed by the older boys about what length of time we should work before the process of warming up was repeated. My brother Mark being the hunter was permitted to go out as often as it was necessary in search of wild game, and by this means our supply was often replenished with a fat deer, turkey or raccoon. The latter was only used for food when no other meal could be brought in by usually an all day tramp through the snow and often to a quite late hour. Especially so when a deer happened to be brought down at considerable distance from the cabin, which was quite frequently the case. Help from home had to be had to assist in carrying in the meat, which was usually done by running a hickory pole through the body of the deer after the entrails had been removed and then placing the pole on their shoulders. They laid it on the snow when it became necessary to rest. Sometimes if it was too large to be carried in this way, a portion would be tied to the limbs of a convenient tree at a sufficient height from the ground to be safe from the wolves and the place marked so they could return and bring it in the following day. They could not afford to lose so precious food and so dearly earned as this was. Before the use of matches, I will have to tell you how difficult it was to replenish our fire when by chance it was let go out, as we had never at that time seen a sulfur match. The process of making fire or starting it was by means of sometimes a sundial and a piece of what was called punk. If the latter should be damp, as it had to be very dry to take fire from the forces of the dial, we sometimes would use a flint, letting the sparks fall on a little powder that would be sprinkled on tow or a cotton rag. A flintlock gun was another process sometimes used by putting tow and powder in the pan, springing the hammer, catching the tow on fire and other fuel immediately added and thus get fire. Great care however was always used not to let the fire go out, and about the last act before retiring was the last one to bed had the little task of covering up the fire that is if it was sufficiently burned down to admit the usual process. If it wasn't, someone of the family who was allotted that task was called up at a later hour of the night to do so. In this cause we usually took turns in getting up, as was the case.
I well remember the first pair of boots that was bought for either of the three younger boys, namely John, the writer and Orvill. The later was the youngest at that time and we three had one pair of boots between us. And the one that happened to be in possession of the boots was asked to bring in the wood or bring a pail of water, which by the way was quite a chore as it had to be carried from the creek, or as the Yankee would call it the brook, which was about a block away. That is about the distance of one of our blocks in Ogden, which is 400 feet. In case one of the others not in possession of the boots should chance be called to do any of these little chores the reply would usually be, "Well, John has the boots." And if John thought it was not his time to go, he would in a jiffy give a kick and the boots would fly off, to be used by the one called to do the work, as the boots were a second pair, and two or three sizes larger than any of our feet. They were easily transferred from one to the other.
The following early spring my father having in his native state been accustomed to sugar making from the maple tree rented a sugar bush from the Indians and made several hundred pounds of sugar which was so precious that only once in a great while was it used. It was used in preparing in a more palatable shape our little stock of medicine, which was always laid in during the summer, which consisted in the main of lobelia and boneset, wild turnip and gingham and pills made of but nut bark, which was manufactured by my mother. She was the physician of the family and was considered to be a very good one. As the country became settled up, she was usually sent for, sometimes to go distances ranging from one to ten miles distant to prescribe and wait on the sick. Her more special practice was that of midwife, a profession she followed for a period of 43 years. She was quite an expert in horseback riding, often riding a distance of twenty miles on strange horses frequently in nighttime and dark and sometimes storming. No kind of weather would deter her from responding in an urgent call of this kind. She was usually very successful and considered one of the best of her day, seldom ever losing a case.
The long winter had passed, the March sugar making over, and springtime had really come. The buds had begun to swell and put forth their tiny leaves. Plans were being concocted as to how the ten to fifteen acres of land that had been cleared off was to be plowed with one yoke of cattle which would require at least three yoke to make any headway at all. There was almost daily new arrivals of our people coming in that like ourselves had been compelled, or from choice had stopped along the line of their exit from Missouri. The roads were becoming dry, and favorable for travel. With one of these who had decided to take up a farm and adjoining ours on the south, arrangements were made to exchange teamwork. By this means we (Excuse this word "we" as it may be quite out of place to the minds or any that may chance to read this. But as the entire force of the male portion of the family though small as they were brought into requisition to do some part of the work. You will pardon me for using this term.) managed to plow the land. This prepared, it was planted with such seeds as we had brought with us from the products of Mr. Bartlett's farm in Illinois. From this a fair crop was harvested. By this time several hundred families had settled in that locality.
A petition was formulated and sent to Washington for a post office, as there was no means of receiving mail. This resulted in granting of the petition and my father being appointed as postmaster. This position he held as long as he remained in the county, which after received the name of Lee, and the post office was called String Prairie Post Office. I remember well the first patent medicines that I had ever heard of when my father accepted the agency of Moffets Pills and Phoenix Bitters. The following winter he was employed to teach the only school, the first one in that locality. This was his custom to do each winter or during the winter months as long as he remained in the state. He had acquired in his youth over an average education of his day. As I have already stated, he was an expert at bee hunting the results of which several stands of wild bees had been captured and became quite tame in time, and had so increased from the saving of the swarm that in a few years our share was over a hundred stands.
Our little colony was organized by the Prophet Joseph as a ward called, as I have stated, Ambrosia with the usual officers. And our meetings were held around in private houses. I well remember some of them where there were but a few seats, not chairs as they were a thing of the past to us. They consisted of stools usually built with three legs and on these occasions the smaller portion of the congregation would sit on the floor if there chanced to be one. If not, we brushed our pants in that locality and sat down on the ground or stood up at will which usually was anyone's lot and one I had become quite accustomed to as well as sleeping on the soft side of a puncheon floor in the loft. This was reached by means of rounds or pins drove in auger holes bored in the logs. I will remember when we were provided with a straw bed. What an improvement over a single quilt that we had been using under us with usually three or four of us boys sleeping together in the same bed. Later on, however, another room was added to our cabin of more modern finish. The roof was made of shakes and a puncheon floor. The window was of an eight divisioned glass 8x10 each. Within the room were placed two bedsteads sitting foot to foot against the logs, which formed the walls in their construction. Holes were bored in the legs two inches in diameter and the side and end rail made of a round pole. It was rounded to fit these holes with a post with two like holes bored in it to receive the other ends. Two such legs answered for the two bedsteads. A cleat was pinned on the wall to receive the ends of the boards or puncheons that formed the slats on which the place the straw beds. This was called the boys' room where that portion of the family usually slept.
I remember my Uncle John Child who was not a member of the Church making us a visit. He had sold Father's farm, which he was unable to sell before leaving our native home in New York and so left it with Uncle to sell as soon as a reasonable price could be got for it. And he had concluded to make us a visit and bring with him the $300.00 for which he had sold the place. $150:00 of this money that had not been previously used for purchases of various kinds had been kept in a chest that usually stood in our room. A traveler
At the close of the meeting Father had lost but little time in getting to the river and securing his passage over before the storm set in. Probably landing on the Montrose side shortly after I had left it passing each other on the way. He found the horse as we had left it in the morning. After taking a short time for the boy, he concluded he had fell in with a chance to ride home and had gone. He mounted the saddle and Charley, as we called him, needed no urging to take him home. In less than an hour's ride, just as the sun was setting, he learned that I had not come. He at once started back hoping to meet me on the road. A hasty search was made at the most probable places that I might chance to be not thinking for a moment that I had played truant as I had never before done. There were only two problems in his mind to be solved for my absence-either I had started home on foot and had lost my way and was wandering in the darkness or I had gone in bathing and had been drowned. Not fully satisfied which of the two was the most probable, he returned thinking per chance I may have got safely home or some further tidings may have come to hand. Mother and the family, grief stricken, were out with torches to attract my attention per chance I might be wandering in the darkness near. By this time, some of the nearest neighbors, having been attracted by the lights, had gathered to learn what the trouble was. Five or six men with Father and the two oldest boys made up the party that returned with torches, rakes, etc., to search the river for my body. This work went on by anxious hands and hearts until morning. The first dawning of which I thanked Brother Levi Nickersen for my supper and lodging and went with all possible speed to the landing to catch the first boat that went over, which by chance happened to be an unusually early one. It arrived on the west shore soon after sunrise. You can judge my joy in stepping on shore as well as each of us on meeting with the searching party and my dear mother at home who had possibly spent a more sorrowful and painful night than I had done.
Father and the two older boys had made rails and fenced forty acres more land to the east of the house known as the Prairie Field. This did not require much clearing, as it was mostly prairie land. It required more team to break the sod than did the land first improved. To do this, he hired a man by the name of Ireland who had four yoke of cattle and a large wheel-breaking plow who followed that line of business. And I was assigned the task of driving the team. Two acres per day was about an average. The first crop, usually corn, was planted with an ax cutting a slot in the sod then cutting one on either side of the first one after dropping in the corn then stepping on the hill. Usually about forty bushels would be harvested from the new land and from 60-80 on older land. But not so good as our Utah land for wheat and oats, buckwheat gave a good yield.
After the crops were gathered in the fall, two to three weeks were spent out on a hunt for honey and wild game. Considerable quantities of each were usually laid in for winter as the results of these hunts. Father usually did the bee hunting. In the spring of 1842 he planted out about two acres of orchard consisting of peaches and apples, the latter bearing one year only before we left the county.
There lived about a half mile to the north of us an old couple by the name of Meed. He had lost a leg in the Revolutionary War. They had joined the Church and the good neighbors had aided in building them a small house on a portion of Father's farm. Their principal support was from contributions. My sister Phebe and myself were sent to carry some article of food to them. The only path was through the brush and timber about half of the distance. Rattlesnakes were quite thick and dangerous everywhere and more particularly so in the timber. That class known as the timber or woods snake was the most poisonous. We were each barefooted, and on our return I was in front and stepped on a substance that felt soft and cold to my foot, which caused me to jump back. A large rattlesnake clinging coiling himself around my right foot struck his fangs just to the side of my foot. I assisted my sister in killing the monster, she carrying it home on a stick.
By the time we arrived there, the poison had nearly reached my knee and the sensation as I then described it and as I now distinctly remember the feeling was the same as if my leg had been cut off at that point. All remedies at hand were quickly applied by Mother, there being no doctors in that part. Three weeks I laid between life and death the poison reaching nearly to my hip before it could be checked. When I had sufficiently recovered to get up, my right leg had drawn up so I could only walk on my knees, or later by means of crutches. This condition lasted for over six months before I could straighten my leg sufficiently to walk.
I well remember the day the news reached us of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum. Mother was engaged in making soft soap in the yard as was her custom to do, often making up a barrel at one time for a neighbor. Lye leached from the ashes of the fireplace was used instead of the concentrated lye of today. The party bringing the sad news rode up on horseback and asked if we had heard the news. Mother said after that a thrilling shock went through her whole frame before replying. She had not heard of anything new but, from the expression of the stranger, she could see that there was something more than the usual to induce a stranger to ask such a question. His words were that old Joe Smith had been killed at last and that they or we would have no further trouble with him. He used an oath and passed on seemingly anxious to herald the news further. Father went immediately to Nauvoo, as further trouble might need his presence. He was ever on his post when necessary to defend the Prophet and the cause of truth. He was there during the funeral. Their death cast a gloom of sorrow over the city and surrounding country as the news spread rapidly in every direction without the aid of wires as we have now. And for a time it would only have taken a word from the proper head to have left only a grease spot of the mob that committed the cowardly act. But a wiser power ruled and all submitted to their fate resulting in a final exodus from the state, which took place in February 1846. The main body crossed the river on the ice, making their first encampment on Big Sugar Creek near our place. The snow on the ground was a foot deep and the weather cold. Hundreds of beds were made on the snow without any protection from the storms other than the bows of trees that were fallen for the stock to browse on.
In the impoverished condition of the Saints and the inclement weather at this season of the year they not having but little time for preparation, there were great privations induced as many had to be left at recruiting points on the way. These places were christened by the Saints, Garden Grove and Mt. Pisgah. Here the brethren went to the nearest points in Missouri where they could obtain work to procure food for their families. And after reaching the Missouri River with the advanced company, teams and wagons were sent back to bring up those that were left behind; they had no teams or means of leaving Nauvoo or Iowa. Many had crossed the river to that state and were compelled to await help from the willing hands sent to their assistance.
There was but little hay to be had and they were without means to buy it if there had been plenty. Father had about 60 bushels of corn in the cribs, which they were permitted to take without price, which served the camp for a short time. They remained here some three weeks before the weather had so modified that they could start out in safety. Father closed up his business and followed their furrowed trail that had been made in storm and mud leaving his possessions of seven years hard labor to accumulate to the mercy of the enemy who was threatening us on every hand. Their bloody work of driving had already commenced on the remnant of our people that had been left in Nauvoo who were without teams or means to move. Teams from Mt. Pisgah and Garden Grove were sent back to get them from the main camp. On the 10th of June this trail was struck by our little van consisting of two wagons drawn by one yoke of oxen each. In descending Soap Creek Hill, a very steep one, the chain lock to the wagon that I was driving gave way and the wagon pressed onto the oxen so they were unable to hold it. Mother was sitting in the front with her feet on the outside of the box and was thrown out lighting on her feet between the cattle, which in their efforts to hold the wagon were crowding her body back against the end board. Bracing herself back she managed to keep her feet until the bottom of the hill was reached. Using the butt of my whip stalk, the team was stopped until she could extricate herself from a perilous position without any serious results. Her presence of mind only saved her from being thrown under the wheels and crushed to death.
Before leaving the settlement we stopped for about two weeks to let the teams recruit. We worked in the harvest field, cutting and binding wheat for a farmer. On arriving at Grand River, some little delay was caused by the swollen stream, as was the case when the Nishenbottany was reached. Here the temporary bridge that had been constructed by the main camp had been washed out by the high water. As this stream could not be forded even in low water, there was no chance to be taken in waiting until the water went down. The only alternative would be to build a boat or a bridge; and as no material suitable for a boat could be had short of 150 miles or more, it was decided to undertake the task of building a bridge. To procure timber for this purpose, we had to go 4 or 5 miles up the stream. There were several hundred of the Pottawatomie Indians camped in that vicinity who for a little flour each was brought into general use in floating the timbers down the stream. After they had been cut and hauled to the bank, they would assist in rolling the logs into the water. Then half dozen bucks would mount astride or swim by the side of the log and stop it at the point where it was decided to build the bridge. This suitable timber for the four stringers and poles that was split for the floor was drawn out on the bank and by means of ropes aided by our native friends, a bridge was soon constructed and safely crossed by our wagons as well as the thousands that followed.
We settled on Little Pigeon Creek while the main body of the Church settled on the west banks of the river, afterward called Winter Quarters in the Omaha nation. Many went further up the river and formed a settlement named Puncah. During the winter of 1846 and 1847 there was a partial famine in the land and, for lack of bread, we with many others were compelled to pound the scanty allowance of corn we could procure in mortars constructed in the top of a stump of a fallen tree. We then would sift it in a meal sieve or eat it bran and all. This was done several months before meal could be obtained. There being none nearer than 75 miles and our teams and oxen being so reduced without feed except what they browsed from the willows, etc., they could not make the trip until grass started. Many subsisted on parched corn with no meat except occasionally a wild bird trapped. When spring opened, there was sufficient grass for our teams to subsist upon. Trips were made to St. Joseph, Missouri, for corn and a little bacon which, when made into meal and baked into what was termed corn dodgers or hoe cakes, made a rare change
in our usual diet.
This history was taken from the journal of Warren Gould Child
"I will give a synopsis of my father's life as I remember it and from actual
dates as related to me by my mother"
Pioneer Pathways, Vol. 7, p. 226
In 1838 the family was converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Shortly after joining the Church, the family sold their farm and moved to Kirtland, Ohio. They only stayed a few months and then went to Caldwell County, Missouri. At that time the Child family consisted of the parents and eight children.
After leaving Missouri, the Childs took over an unimproved farm about six miles from Nauvoo in a place situated between Big and Little Sugar Creek, called String Prairie in an area that later became part of the state of Iowa. They lived there for seven years. Their last child was born in this area.
They made the exodus to Nauvoo with other members of the Church, and settled in Pottawatomie County, Iowa, where they resided for about five years. In June 1852, the Child family began their journey to Utah in the Uriah Curtis company and arrived on October 1, 1852.
It had now been fourteen years since they left their home in New York. They settled near the Weber River, where Alfred set up a sawmill. However, he did not get to do much with it because his health began to fail, and he died on December 22, 1852.
Alfred Bosworth Child, second child and first son of Mark Anthony and Hannah Benedict Child, born in the town of Milton, Saratoga County, New York, November 18, 1796. Married March 19, 1817, Polly Barker, born March 30, 1799, daughter of Ichabod and Annie Deake Barber. He died December 22, 1852, in Ogden, Weber County, Utah.
Alfred Bosworth Child, second child and first son of Mark Anthony and Hannah Benedict Child, born in the town of Milton-Greenfield, Saratoga County, New York, November 19, 1796, married March 19, 1817, Polly Barber who was born March 30, 1799. She was the daughter of Ichabod and Anne Deake Barber. He died December 22, 1852. They had ...12 children.
Biography of Alfred Bosworth Child
Alfred Bosworth Child was the second child and first son of Mark Anthony and Hannah Benedict Child. He was born in the town of Milton-Greenfield, Saratoga County, New York, on the 19th day of November, 1796. He married Polly Barber on 19th March 1817. She was the daughter of Ichabod and Annie Drake Barber, and was born 30th of March 1799.
They lived in Greenfield for several years after their marriage, then moved to Morristown in St. Lawrence County, New York. This area was on the St. Lawrence River and bordering on Canada. Members of Polly's family lived here.
The Childs purchased a small farm of about 30 acres, and with hard labor cleared it for cultivation. The family was industrious and was prospering here, when in 1837-38 the missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints found them and taught them the gospel of the true church of Jesus Christ on the earth.
After a careful and thorough investigation of the principles of Mormonism, Alfred, his wife Polly and several of their children were baptized on 5 June 1838, by Elder Charles Blakesly.
They immediately began to make preparations to join the main body of the Saints, at their headquarters in Kirtland, Ohio. They sold their farm in New York and started on their strenuous journey with one team of horses, all of their possessions in a wagon, and ten members in the family.
To give them strength and to buoy their spirits, they had an encouraging and spiritual experience, on the way, and it is related in Polly's history.
Eventually the Child family arrived at Kirtland, and learned that, as soon as the Temple there was completed, persecution of the Saints became unbearable and they were forced to leave.
They, of course, were disappointed, but were thrilled to have seen the Temple. They left Kirtland and went to Caldwell County, Missouri, purchased a farm, and established a home, but the persecutions there had also begun. The family then went with others into Davies County, to a place 12 miles from Farr West, but is not named in their history.
At Adam-on-Diahom, a city of tents and wagons, where the Childs went for refuge, the Mormons were building quite a community after their expulsion from Jackson County.
Polly states in her letter to her sister, that she and son Mark went 12 miles into Farr West to shop for flour, salt, toys for children, and other items. (Farr West at this time was quite a thriving town.)
When Polly returned home, Alfred and Mark were put on guard duty with the armed Mormons, because the mob was burning houses in the area. The satanic mob were on their march to Crooked River and Haun's Mill, where those Saints were cruelly massacred.
The Mormons were the Childs lived had been advised to go to "Diamon" for safety. Polly stated that they went 14 miles and pitched their tent and lived in it two weeks. The people thought after the battle at Crooked River and Haun's Mill the mob would be pacified and they could live in peace for a time, so everyone went to work again building houses for the settlement at Adam-on-Diamon.
Later, they learned that the mobs, which had been alerted and gathered from several counties, were moving to Farr West.
The Mormons began a counter-movement to defend themselves. All able-bodied men were called out and armed when it was learned Farr West was surrounded by 1,800 of the vicious outlaws.
Alfred and son Mark were taken prisoners but were not harmed and later released, but their best horse was taken and also their farm. The relentless mob was after the Prophet Joseph Smith and other leaders of the church at Farr West.
In February 1839, the Child's family with other Saints left Missouri by force--their property having been confiscated by ruthless mobsters. Their daughter Polly Ann described their destitute condition of hunger and suffering with the cold, while crossing the Mississippi River at Quincy, Illinois.
In Illinois, Alfred rented a farm for a few months and they all worked hard to make a living. later in June of 1839, Alfred went into Lee County, Iowa, where he acquired a piece of land at Jama what was called the "half breed" land, purchased from the Black Hawk Indians. (This must have been Keokuk, Iowa, or near there.) He began to build a log house and sent for his family. They had a very difficult time in an unfinished house, until spring. (There was no chimney for a fireplace so they build a fire on the dirt floor.)
In the spring of 1840, Alfred planted grain and a garden, finished the house, and their living condition improved. The older children worked and earned a little money. Polly Ann taught school and helped her family. The family needed clothing. Alfred planted and grew a good crop of flax in 1841. The flax was spun and made into cloth from which Polly made the children's clothes; pants and shirts for Alfred and the boys, sheets and pillow cases and dresses for the girls. This project took the entire year of 1842.
To further their prosperity in September 1842, Alfred was appointed Post Master at Spring Prairie, Lee County, Iowa, and held this office about six years. He attended to the office and with the help of the boys took care of their farm. While Alfred was away from home, Polly had charge of the office, for which she was fully qualified. They lived here in Iowa seven years.
Meanwhile, in November, 1842, Polly Ann, their eldest daughter, was married to Ebenezer C. Richardson, by the Prophet Joseph Smith. She was the second wife. Mark Alfred, their eldest living son, enlisted in the United States Army in 1844 and was stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Missouri. He marched overland to Mexico as one of General Kearney's staff, which position he held during the war with Mexico, where he received a lance wound in the neck, and a ball wound in the instep of his foot, which disabled him from active service. At the close of the war, he was discharged with a pension,. After recovering from his wounds, he went to Upper California. He was there during the great gold excitement. He engaged in the ranching business and was very successful for a time, when the Indians made a raid on his stock, driving them off. He, with a posse, went in pursuit. They were ambushed in a canyon and their entire party was killed.
After the death of the Prophet and the eviction of the Saints from Nauvoo and Illinois in 1846, Alfred and Polly decided to join the Saints at Council Bluffs, Iowa. Here, he acquired another small farm and improved it, and the family lived here about six years.
In the meantime, their son, Myron Barber Child, married Emmeline Elmer, 14 February 1846, and their daughter Hannah Polina married William Warren Elmer a month later on 26 March 1846. Upon learning that the Mormons were going to move further westward, possibly to California or Oregon, Alfred realized their funds were not sufficient to take them very far. Therefore, he and his 14-year old son Warren went back into Missouri to work for provisions. While at work here Alfred became quite ill and was compelled to return home. For some reason he did not collect the pay he had earned. Later upon his arrival at home, Polly took Warren with her and they traveled the distance of 75 miles to collect the money Alfred had earned. She was gone from home about two weeks. Shortly after this, their 7-year old son, Asa Thomas, died 3 May 1848 and is probably buried at Council Bluffs.
On May 14, 1848, the fourth daughter, Phoebe Wooster Child, was married in polygamy to her brother-in-law Ebenezer C. Richardson.
Then in 1850, January 24, their fifth son, John Lonson, was married to Eliza Jane Curtis, daughter of Uriah Curtis and Phebe Martin.
The family eventually acquired sufficient means to procure an outfit to cross the plains, having thrice sacrificed comfortable homes for the gospel's sake, they commenced their long and hard journey to Utah on 8 July 1852.
Their son, Myron Barber Child, and his family, came to Utah a year before, on October 6, 1851, and settled in Ogden.
Alfred and Polly's family traveled to Utah with Captain Uriah Curtis company. Curtis was the father of Eliza Jane, their daughter-in-law and wife of son John Lonson.
They all arrived in Utah October 1, 1852, and went to live in Ogden and Riverdale in Weber County, where their son Myron lived.
After acquiring a home, Alfred and his sons set up a saw mill for a livelihood, but his untimely death interrupted this venture. He died three days before Christmas, 22 December 1852, from a lung disease brought on by exposure and hardhship from his many difficult journeys. He was buried in the old Pioneer Ogden Cemetery.
The Patriarchal Blessings of Alfred Bosworth and Polly Barber Child were given by William Draper on October 3, 1850, at Driggsville, probably Iowa.
NOTE: I have often wondered why the name Alfred Bosworth was given to our great grandfather. His father, Mark Anthony, had a sister who married Alfred Bosworth and probably was special to the family. Also, the name Orville Rensselaer, of my grandfather. I learned that in 1631 the old Dutch government granted land for manorial privileges, to certain wealthy immigrants in New York and New Jersey. One such was a patroon named Van Rensselaer, whose estate was called "Rensselaer Manor." During the Revolutionary War, troops were befriended and stationed there. This estate was near Stillwater, New York, where great grandfather Increase fought in the war, and later settled.
There is a town named Rensselaer, a few miles from Morristown and Ogdenburg where grandfather Orville was born, and he had an uncle named Rensselaer. A popular name inf New York, it seems.
Thus, my inquiry ended!
Histories of Child, Rawson, Coffin, and Holtzclaw Families
Compiled, written, and published by Fern Roberts Morgan
Printed by M.C. Printing, Inc., Provo, Utah
A sketch of the life of Alfred Bosworth Child and Polly Barber.
He married Polly Barber, daughter of Ichabod Barber and Anna Deake or Drake, born March, 1799. They were married March 19, 1817 in the town of Greenfield, Saratoga County, New York. They moved with their family to Milton, St. Lawrence County , New York, where they took up a new farm. With the aid of a hired man they cleared thirty acres of land which he planted to seed wheat. This farm was situated on the bank of the St. Lawrence River. He was very economical and industrious. In 1829 he sold his farm of about one hundred acres to a Mr. Jogler, a native of Scotland. He bought another farm of one hundred and sixty acres soon after in the same town paying $10.00 an acre for the same. It was while living here that he first heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints ( called Mormonism), which after studying it thoroughly and investigating its principles, and listening to the Elders, they were converted of its truthfulness. They were baptized June 5, 1838. He and his wife Polly and their four children, Polly Ann, Mark Alfred, Myron Barber, and Hannah Polinia. Their children were all born in Greenfield, Saratoga County, New York except Asa Thomas, who was born July 28, 1841 in Lee County, Iowa and died the 8th of May, 1842. (Their four children were born in Saratoga county in New York where the first three died then they moved to St. Lawrence county after their daughter Polly was born in Saratoga county.)
Alfred B. Child sold his possessions and farm with its improvements, taking only a few things with him and started for Kirtland, Ohio. During their travels to Kirtland, they with other Saints passed through a timbered piece of road. Alfred B. Child, driving the lead team was stopped by an elderly gentleman who appeared at the head of the horses. The horses stopped, the man took off his hat and walked by the side of the horses up to the wagon. He shook hands with Alfred, his wife and all the children in the back of the wagon. The back of the wagon cover was turned up so the children could see out as they traveled. After shaking hands with all, he went to Warren G. Child, who was not quite three years old at the time and gave him a wonderful blessing, telling him that he had a great work to do and that he would be a savior to his father’s house in doing a great work for his ancestry. When they arrived at Kirtland, Ohio, Alfred Child told the Prophet Joseph Smith about this strange man and the Prophet said that he was one of the Three Nephites. This man disappeared . They did not see where he came from nor where he went. He did not go to any of the other wagons behind and the other people wondered why he did not give them a blessing as well. They all got out of their wagons and looked to see where he went but they could not even see a track of him. When they arrived a Kirtland the Prophet took them through the Temple. He carried Warren G. Child in his arms up the stairs. Alfred B. Child and his oldest son were acting as guard for the Prophet Joseph Smith and were captured and put in jail for a few days. The Prophet counseled Alfred Child to go to the Far West, Missouri on account of the terrible persecutions . One of his horses had been stolen by the mob so he traded the other one for a yoke of oxen, with which he moved to Quincy, Illinois where he rented a farm of Mr. Bartlet, which he cultivated one season. In November he went with his family to Lee County, Iowa, where he took up land in what was then called or known as the Half Road Fort. He was one of the first settlers in the vicinity. The nearest neighbor was five miles away. He fenced and put under cultivation quite an extensive farm in which he planted oats, barley, potatoes, and a large peach and apple orchard, which in time bore fruit in abundance. As the country became more thickly settled it became necessary to have a post office. The only conveyance for mail at that time in the west was very limited, the nearest being St. Francis Nill, a small town on the west bank of the Des Moines River .in the state of Missouri. In the year of 1841, Alfred Child accepted the position of Postmaster of what was known as String Prairie Post Office. He held this position as long as he remained at that place. With the help of his boys he carried on quite an extensive farming business. In the winter he taught school.
The trouble in Nauvoo, Illinois continued. Persecutions started as the Prophet Joseph Smith announced he had seen in a vision that they would never cease for a long time until lives of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were taken and the saints were driven out of their homes and across the Missouri River to Winter Quarters. The Saints were promised protection by the officers but they failed to keep their word. But the persecutions did not put an end to “Mormonism”, thought the saints were driven from their homes in Nauvoo in the midst of winter, some left bloody footprints in the snow but they did not give up their faith in the Gospel and in the God of Heaven. Their faith grew stronger each day. Alfred B. Child and his faithful wife, Polly, and their family left Winter Quarters in the company of Saints which Curtis was Captain.
Sally Maria Barber ( Wilder) and her daughter, Hannah Austin Wilder were in this company of saints on their way to the Rocky Mountains in the West. They had their own team and wagon which was loaded with their belongings. They were faithful in doing their part while crossing the plains. Hannah had been faithful in helping her mother before leaving the states by teaching school and taking in sewing. Her mother was a widow. ( Her father had died in Elba, Genesee County in New York on 18 September of 1834 before Hannah was born the next spring in May of 1835) Their teams consisted of two yoke of cattle and one yoke of cows to each wagon. Traveling across the plains, Warren G. Child fell in love with Hannah Austin Wilder and their courtship took place on the plains. ( They were married on 6 January, 1853 In Ogden, Utah just a short time after they arrived there ) They arrived in Salt Lake Valley the first of October, 1852 and settled in Ogden, Utah. They went to work hauling logs from the mountains and built log rooms for their families. Alfred B. Child contracted a bad cold which resulted in his death on December 22, 1852, having only been in the valley two months and twenty two days, leaving his widowed wife, Polly, to be looked after by her sons and daughters. NOTE: Polly Barber Child lived a little over thirty years after her husbands death. There is no record that she ever married again. She died on the 4th of February, 1883 in Plain City Utah and was buried in the city cemetery on the 7th of February, 1883 in Ogden, Utah. She was almost 84 years old. She was one of the early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being baptized along with her husband and four of their children, as recorded in this history, on the 5th of June , 1838. According to church records she was blessed with her temple endowments along with her husband and many others in the Nauvoo Temple on the 7th of February, 1846. ( Eugene M. Hancock) The following poem was found in an old Bible written by Anna Dake Barber for her daughter Polly Barber Child. The paper was so old it was hard to be sure of the signature. Barber was clear but the first name was blurred. ( Martha Amanda Richardson Hancock ) If youth must fade and beauty die away And outward blessings charms must soon decay If age around thy features cast her frost and as thy life wears on thy charms are lost Oh let thy mind no nobler prospects turn Which will expand when beauty seeks the urn So age, store thy mind with virtue, knowledge, truth And age shall be to thee as fair as youth. NOTE: In the fall of 2003 I was going through an old chest that belonged to Charles and Martha Hancock that was passed on to me by their son Clawson B. Hancock, my father, several years ago. I ran across some old histories and family information that my grandparents had put in the chest and then in March of 2004 I found some more information. I took it all and have re typed it to be preserved for future generations. It was a very spiritual experience going through the stories and things that I found. It has helped me really appreciate all our fore fathers did for us so we can have what we have today. The foregoing information is allot of what I found. The information is indeed a treasure from a family treasure chest. ( Eugene M. Hancock, 3rd great grandson of Alfred Bosworth Child. )
"Alfred Bosworth Child, son of Mark Anthony Child and Hannah Benedict, was born November 19, 1796 in the town of Greenfield, Saratoga County, New York. Alfred was reared a farmer and was accustomed to the rude method of clearing the heavy timber lands in that part of the country. It was the practice to cut the trees and log them off. Then crops were planted around the stumps. After some years these stumps would begin to decay and eventually would be cleared from the land. Wheat was raised for food. The cloth used for clothing was spun from flax or wool. The wool first had to be washed and dried, then picked and carded by hand into rolls. Then it was spun on the hand spinning wheel into yarn. After the yarn was dyed it was woven into cloth by the use of a crude hand loom. The flax that was grown was polled from the ground by hand and spread in swaths to dry. Then it was bound into bundles and taken to the barn where it usually remained until late in the fall. The flax was then taken to some damp piece of ground and again spread in swaths to decay. When the stalks became brittle and the lint would cleave readily, it was gathered up and taken back into the barn. During the winter, it was broken in the flax brake and taken over the scutcher board. When cleaned the flax was put on the heddle and carded. The fibers were spun into thread from which was woven the cloth that made the shirts, sheets, towels, etc. The winters were spent in preparing the flax and wool and threshing the grain. It was in this manner that Alfred Bosworth Child spent his boyhood.
On March 19, 1817, Alfred married Polly Barber in the town of Greenfield, Saratoga County, New York. After their marriage, they remained in the vicinity of the Old Homestead in Greenfield until about 1822 when they with the majority of the Child family moved to St. Lawrence County, New York. Here Alfred took up a few farm and with the aid of a hired man, cleared and put into cultivation thirty acres of land located on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. Through economy and industry, he acquired additional property. And in the year 1829, he sold this farm of approximately 100 acres to Mr. Taylor, a native of Scotland. Soon after this sale, Alfred purchased a new farm in Morristown consisting of 160 acres for which he paid $10 an acre.
It was in Morristown that Alfred Bosworth Child first heard the Gospel of Christ called Mormonism. Mr. James Blakely, a Mormon Elder, traveled into the area. He held a number of meetings in private homes as he was not allowed the privilege of preaching in a public hall. Alfred's family and several of their neighbors attended these meetings. However, the gospel as set forth and advocated by Elder Blakely was rejected by all except the Child family. After thoroughly investigating the principles of the gospel and being convinced of its truthfulness, Alfred Bosworth and Polly Barber Child were baptized June 5, 1838 along with the following members of their family: Polly Ann, Mark Alfred, Myron Barber, and Hannah Paulina. The rest of the children were under age for baptism.
In July 1838, Alfred began making arrangements to sell his farm and the household goods that could not be taken on the journey to Zion. Neighbors and friends were very much opposed to the family leaving. However, on August 11, 1838, Alfred and Polly started with their family, then numbering seven children, for Kirtland, Ohio. They traveled five miles to the wharf and embarked on a small steamer up the St. Lawrence River, crossed Lake Ontario and landed at Lewiston a short distance from Niagara Falls. The voyage took about 48 hours and was short distance form Niagara Falls. The voyage took about 48 hours and was quite pleasant with the exception of a little sea sickness. At Lewiston their goods, a wagon and one pair of medium-sized Canadian Ponies, were unloaded at the Wharf. Then the family traveled 40 miles by land with their little team in a southerly direction to the city of Buffalo located on the eastern shore of Lake Erie. They stopped only a few hours to add to their supplies and then continued their journey into Eastern Ohio.
It was while traveling through a dense forest in Ohio, that a very singular incident occurred. The Child family had fallen in with two other families who were traveling in the same direction. They had met a few days previously so were only casually acquainted. These families were not of the Mormon faith but made very pleasant company while traveling through a wild and strange country. The road they were following was narrow and seldom traveled. All was still except for the slight jostling of the wagon wheels and an occasional chirping of the birds. Alfred was sitting in the front of the wagon in deep thought and meditation about his native home, the friends left behind, the gospel that had induced him to forsake all and undertake such a journey, and what yet lay before him. It was while in deep meditaton that a voice was heard to say "Whoa." Alfred had not seen any person in the vicinity. At the word "whoa" from a strange voice, the team stopped so suddenly that those teams traveling behind came in contact with his wagon. When Alfred recovered a little from the sudden and abrupt stop, a man walked unconcernedly up to the wagon. This man appeared to be very aged with an unusually long white beard. He was well dressed, tidy in his appearance from head to foot, about six feet tall, of rather spare build with a very pleasant and happy look on his face. He asked no questions as to who they were or where they were going, but proceeded to shake hands with the family members starting with Alfred first, his wife, Polly, and each of the children according to age, blessing them in the name of Jesus Christ and telling them they would prosper in their journey to Zion. The visit was so sudden and unexpeced that not a word had been spoken by the family members. Alfred assumed the stranger would greet in the same manner those families occupying the two wagons behind him, but the man simply made a slight bow as he passed them. The other families got out of their wagons to hail the stranger and get a further explanation of such a strange and unlooked for occurrence. They went quickly to the rear and to their surprise, he was not in sight. They made a hasty search in every direction but he was not found. Search was made in the road for his tracks but none was found. The families traveling with Alfred remarked that the family had received a very special blessing from a stranger. The sudden appearance and disappearance of this man was the subject of much thought and conversation by all for several days. On arriving in Kirtland, Alfred related this incident to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Prophet told him the man was one of the Nephites who was permitted not to taste death, and that they occasionally made visits where they were permitted.
The Alfred Bosworth Child family arrived in Kirtland, Ohio in September 1838. While in Kirtland they were shown through the temple by the Prophet Joseph Smith. They remained only a few weeks. Then under the direction of the Prophet Joseph's counsel, they continued their journey westward to Missouri arriving in October 1838. They had traveled the entire distance form Lewiston, New York by land with one wagon drawn by a span of horses.
Upon arriving at their destination, Alfred purchased for $200 a farm located on Shoal Creek in Caldwell County. With the farm, he obtained several cribs of corn in the ear which helped serve the family and team for food during the winter. However, before spring came their best horse was confiscated by the mob which had invaded Caldwell County as it did Jackson and other adjacent counties where the saints were settled. The family was in constant fear of life and of more cruel raids being made on them. Alfred and his son, Mark, were taken as prisoners along with Joseph Smith and other brethren while out with a defense guard.
During these troubled times, Polly had to devise every means to obtain food. The family was almost destitute as a result of the invasions made on them by the mobs. Polly managed to secure the loan of a neighbor's horse to work with their remaining one. She took this team and wagon and with her small son, Myron Barber, started to Far West eighteen miles away. She hoped to obtain the supplies necessary to feed and clothe the family. While on the way to Far West news was received of the shooting of David Patten in the Crooked River Battle. Polly's team was taken to transport him to Far West.
Alfred and his family remained n Missouri only a few months when they with the other saints were forced to leave the state. The orders were imperative from a lawless mob that had continuously plundered, whipped, and even murdered many of the saints. The time limit given the people to leave the state was February 1839. Consequently, in the inclement weather, they made a hasty exit taking with them a few movable effects that were left from the ravages of the mob.
Alfred exchanged the only horse he had left for a yoke of oxen that drew the wagon as they moved to Illinois. Most of the members of the family walked, part of them barefoot over the frozen ground and stubble. They arrived on the west bank of the Mississippi River the first part of March. They had to stop for a week or ten days to wait for the river to clear of floating ice.
While waiting to cross the Mississippi River, Alfred was befriended by a gentleman who let the family use one room of his cabin to sleep in. At night they made their beds on the puncheon floor. There was not room in the small two room cabin for the family during the day. So each morning the beds were rolled up and carried to the wagon where the smaller children were wrapped in them. The raw March winds swept up and down the Mississippi River. The family was extremely uncomfortable and the few days they were detained seemed like weeks. As soon as it was considered safe by the boatman to run the boat to the opposite shore, several trial trips were made. It was feared the boat would come in contact with large blocks of ice and capsize. After the trial runs, the wagon and team were taken across with one of the older boys going to care for them. The family followed on the next boat. They and their few belongings landed safely on the eastern bank of the river near the town of Quincy, Illinois.
The yoke of oxen was thin and weak because of the meager food supply. Since it would have been extremely difficult for this one yoke of small cattle to pull the wagon through the muddy roads, Alfred decided to settle temporarily in Quincy until the team was strengthened and the family supplies replenished. A small farm located four miles out of Quincy was rented from Mr. Bartlett. This farm was cultivated for one season and enough food was raised to partially supply the family for the coming winter. The crops included corn, wheat, and a few varieties of vegetables. It was during this summer that some members of the family attended school for the first time in a small frame barn.
After the crops were harvested, Alfred and his son, Mark, walked to Nauvoo to find a suitable place to locate in that vicinity. They took with them a large supply of food, their rifles, and a change of clothing for an absence of a month to six weeks. The portion of the country through which they traveled was wilderness with the exception of an occasional farm house.
The main body of the church had settled at Commerce, afterwards called Nauvoo in Illinois. The location selected by Alfred was in Iowa between Big and Little Sugar Creek and about six miles from Nauvoo on the opposite bank of the Mississippi River.
Alfred returned to Quincy and in November 1839, he moved his family to Lee County, Iowa. They settled in what was then known as Half-Breed Tract, an area inhabited by the Blackhawk Indians. Alfred was one of the earliest settlers in the area, his nearest neighbor lived five miles away. With the assistance of his sons, Alfred staked off 160 acres of land and put into cultivation an extensive farm. A one room cabin 14 feet by 15 feet was completed with a good dirt roof and sod fireplace. The chimney was constructed of split sticks plastered on the inside with clay mortar. The cracks between the rough logs were chinked and daubed with the same material. The door was made of shakes - shingles cut from a piece of log. Wooden pegs were used as a substitute for nails. The floor was firm as the earth for such it was. The family was quite happy and content in their new home among the Indians. A happy change form the conditions and surrounding in Missouri from which they had been forced to leave at the gunpoint of their enemies.
The small supply of provisions that were brought in the one wagon with the family had to be economized until new crops could be raised. All the members of the family that were old enough spent the winter clearing and preparing the ground for the spring crops and building fences. Although thinly clad and barefoot, the family members had been toughened by the constant exposure to the weather. They were able to endure considerable cold and frost. When one was so cold he could endure no longer, he would run to the hot embers of the burnings and place his hands and feet in the hot ashes until they were thawed out. Great care was always taken to prevent the fire from going out as it was extremely difficult to restart.
The area in which the family had settled was covered with dense bodies of timber. The white burr and black oak were predominate. The ash, elm, hickory, hackberry, birch, fir, ironwood, walnut, butternut, and maple were also plentiful. A variety of wild fruit existed such as the crab apple, wild plum, blackberry, raspberry and strawberry. The nuts to be found in the forests were the walnut, butternut, and hazelnut. These added variety to the scanty supply of food.
Mark was permitted to go as often as necessary in search of wild game. Consequently the food supply was sometimes replenished with a fat deer, turkey or raccoon. The later was used for food only when no other meal could be brought in after an all day tramp through the snow. When a deer was brought down a considerable distance from the cabin, help was needed to assist in carrying in the meat. If the deer was too large to be carried, a portion would be tied to the limb of a convenient tree at a sufficient height from the ground to be safe from the wolves. The place was marked so family members could return the next day and bring it in. They could not afford to lose this precious food.
After the crops were gathered in the fall, two or three weeks were spent searching for honey. Alfred was an expert in hunting the wild bee and obtaining the honey. The only industry of the Blackhawk Indians was the manufacture of maple sugar. In his native state of New York, Alfred had been accustomed to making sugar from the maple tree. So he rented a sugar bush from the Indians and made several hundred pounds. The sugar was precious and used only sparingly. It was added to the medicine to make it more palatable. This medicine which was made and stred during the summer consisted mainly of lobelia, boneset, wild turnip, and pills manufactured by Polly which were made from Butternut bark.
Polly was the physician. Her specialty was that of a midwife, a profession she followed for a period of 43 years. She was very successful and considered one of the best in her day. Polly would travel great distances to prescribe and wait on the sick. She was an excellent horseback rider. Often at nighttime and in stormy weather she would ride many miles on a strange horse to respond to an urgent call. In 1840, the colony where the Child family had settled was organized by the Prophet Joseph Smith into a ward called Ambrosia. The church meetings were held in private homes with most of the congregation sitting on the dirt floor. Chairs were a thing of the past. However, some of the homes had wooden floors and a few three-legged stools.
Mail delivery was very limited in the west. As the country became more settled, a petition was formulated and sent to Washington requesting a post office. The petition was granted and in the year 1841, Alfred Bosworth Child was appointed Postmaster of the String Prairie Post Office. He held this position for five years, as long as he remained in the county.
Alfred had acquired in his youth an above average education for his time. Consequently, he was employed to teach the only school, the first one in that locality. He taught each winter for as long as he remained in the state. During this period of time, another room was added to the log cabin. Some family members had been sleeping on the ground with only a blanket under them. Now for the first time all of the family slept on straw mattresses.
When Alfred left his native state New York, he had been unable to sell his farm. He had asked his brother, John Child, to sell it as soon as a reasonable price could be obtained. John paid the family a visit at this time bringing the $300 for which he had sold the farm. $150 of this money was put away in a chest for future use.
Sometime later, a traveler called and asked for a night's lodging. As was the custom, this request was granted. The stranger was given a bed in the room where the chest was located. Some of the boys in the family occupied the other bed. In the morning the boys awoke and left the traveler sleeping. When the morning meal was prepared,one of the boys was sent to call the stranger by knocking at the door. The lid of the chest was heard to drop but little notice was taken at this time. After the traveler left, Polly had occasion to go to the chest and it occurred to her to check the billfolder in which papers of value were kept. At first glance she noticed that the band that passed around the book was not fastened and the book was partially open. On examination and to her dismay, she discovered the money was gone. The stranger had been on horseback and by this time was beyond reach as it was not known which road he had taken. This was an extremely heavy loss to the family. In the spring of 1842, Alfred and his older sons fenced forty acres of land to the east of the house known as Prairie Field. This land was planted into corn. Two additional acres were planted into orchard consisting of peach and apple trees.
In June 1844 when news reached the family of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, Alfred left immediately for Nauvoo. He was ever on his post to defend the Prophet and the cause of truth. He was in Nauvoo during the funeral. The deaths of the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum cast a gloom of sorrow over the city and surrounding countryside as the news spread rapidly in every direction. For a time it would have taken only a word from the proper authority to have left just a grease spot of the mob that committed this act. But a wiser power ruled. The bloody and cowardly act perpetrated at the Carthage Jail did not satisfy the enemies of truth. They were disappointed that it did not put an end to Mormonism as they had anticipated. The troubles continued resulting in the final exodus of the saints from Illinois in February 1846.
The majority of the inhabitants of Nauvoo crossed the Mississippi River on the ice and camped on the banks of Sugar Creek. Snow on the ground was a foot deep and the weather was extremely cold. Hundreds of beds were made on the snow without any protection from the storms other than the boughs of the trees that were cut down for the stock to browse on. Many of the people were destitute being without clothing and food for themselves and animals. Alfred's farm was located about a mile and a half from camp. He had laid up in store an abundance of corn, about 60 bushels which he liberally divided among the poor and needy. This corn served the camp for some time. The saints remained at this location three weeks before the weather modified and they were able to move on.
Due to the impoverished condition of the saints and the cold, severe weather at this season of the year, many had to be left at recruiting points along the way. These places were christened Garden Grove and Mt. Pisgah. From these locations the brethren went to the nearest points in Missouri where they could acquire work to obtain food for their families. The majority of the camp made Winter Quarters on the banks of the Missouri River. Upon reaching this location, the advance company sent teams and wagons back to bring those saints left behind who were without means to move. The enemy was threatening on every hand. Their bloody work had already commenced on the remnant of the people who had been left in Nauvoo. Teams and wagons from Mt. Pisgah and Garden Grove were also sent back to help the many saints who had crossed the Mississippi River to Iowa and were compelled to wait help from the willing hands sent to their assistance.
Alfred Bosworth Child closed up his business and disposed of his farm for a trifling sum. The family left the possessions which they had accumulated through seven years of hard labor and again to evade the wrath of their enemies took up the march westward. They left on the tenth of June, 1846 with two wagons each drawn by one yoke of oxen. In descending Soap Creek Hill which was extremely steep, the chain lock on the wagon in which Polly was riding broke and the wagon pressed onto the oxen which were unable to hold it. Polly was sitting in the front with her feet on the outside of the box. She was thrown out of the wagon landing on her feet between the cattle which in their effort to hold the wagon crowded her body against the endboard. Bracing herself back, she managed to keep on her feet until the bottom of the hill was reached, the team stopped, and she could extricate herself from a perilous position. Her presence of mind saved her from being thrown under the wheels and crushed.
The family stopped a short time in Missouri and harvested for the farmers. When they arrived at the Grand River, they were delayed because of the swollen waters. When the Nishnabotna River was reached the temporary bridge that had been constructed by the main camp had been washed out by the high water. This stream couldn't be forded even in low water so the only alternatives were to build a boat or a bridge. No material suitable for building a boat could be obtained closer than 150 miles. Therefore, it was decided to undertake the task of building a bridge. It was necessary to go five miles upstream to obtain the timber. Several hundred Potawatamie Indians were camped in that vicinity. For a little flour, these Indians were willing to help in floating the timbers downstream. After the timber had been cut and hauled to the bank, the Indians would assist in rolling the logs into the water. Then a half dozen Indians would mount astride or swim by the side of the log and stop it at the point where the bridge was to be constructed. The suitable timber was then drawn out on the bank and by means of ropes aided by the native friends, a bridge was soon built and safely crossed. This bridge was used by thousands of people who followed.
The family arrived at the Bluffs and here again in a country inhabited only by the Pottawatomie Indians, Alfred Bosworth took up another farm on Little Pigeon Creek near the banks of the Missouri River. The main body of the saints had settled on the western bank of the river at Winter Quarters in the Omaha Nation. Some saints went further up the river and formed a settlement named Puncah.
During the winter of 1846-47, there was a partial famine in the land. Alfred's family along with many others was able to obtain only a scanty allowance of corn. It was necessary to pound this corn in a mortar constructed in the top of a tree stump. Then the corn was sifted in a sieve or eaten bran and all. This was done for several months before meal could be obtained. Many people existed on parched corn with no meat except an occasional wild bird that was trapped. The only meal that could be obtained was 75 miles away and the oxen were so thin and weak they could not make the trip. When spring came, there was sufficient grass for the teams to subsist on and trips were made to St. Joseph, Missouri for corn and a little bacon. When this was made into meal and baked into what was termed corndodgers, or hoecakes, it made a welcome change in the usual diet.
Alfred occupied and continued to improve this farm at Council Bluffs for five years. During the wintertime, he and his sons would go into the frontier settlements of Missouri and work to obtain the necessities needed by the family. The remuneration for a days work would be about fifty cents or fifty cents per hundred for cutting timber and splitting rails. In this manner, the family was able to secure the needed supplies for the great journey to Salt Lake Valley.
On the first day of July 1852, Alfred Bosworth Child and his family started on the trail made by the pioneers in the Sixteenth Company of the season under Uriah Curtis as Captain. The family had two wagons with two yoke of oxen and one yoke of cows to each wagon. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on the first day of October 1852. Shortly thereafter they settled in Riverdale where they began making preparations for winter.
In November Alfred was confined to bed with a severe cold which settled in his lungs and brought on a long fever. He died December 22, 1852 at the age of 56 years. He left a wife and seven children, four sons and three daughters. Five children had preceded him in death.
His wife, Polly died February 7, 1883, thirty-one years after his death at the age of 85 years. She had continued to act as a midwife and assisted all who were ill throughout her active life."
Found on FamilySearch.org (contributed by Kathyno 12 June 2013)