Value: Resiliency

Behaviors

Self-reliance, patience, group mindedness


As Strategy To

Conflict Management


Stories

Three years of crop failure resulting from induced winter of 1816 when Mt Tambura volcano erupted in Indonesia leads to move to Palmyra without Joseph Sr. Joseph, 10, on crutches, left to die, Lucy saves family from robbery.

My husband now determined to change his residence. Accordingly, we moved to Norwich in Vermont and established ourselves on a farm belonging to Squire Moredock. The first year our crops failed, and we bought our bread with the proceeds of the orchard and our own industry. The second year they failed again. In the ensuing spring, Mr. Smith said that we would plant once more on this farm, and if he did not succeed better, we would go to New York, where the farmers raise wheat in abundance.

This next year was like the preceding seasons. An untimely frost blighted the vegetation, and being the third year in succession in which the crops had failed, it well nigh produced a famine. This was enough. My husband was now altogether decided upon going to New York. One day he came into the house and sat down, and after meditating some time, he said that could he so arrange his affairs, he would be glad to start soon for New York with one Mr. Howard, who was going to Palmyra. “But,” said he, “I cannot leave or you could not get along without me. Besides, I am owing some debts that I must pay.”

I told him I thought that he might call upon both his debtors and creditors and by so doing make an arrangement between them that would be satisfactory to all parties. As for the rest, I thought I could prepare myself and my family to follow him by the time he might be ready for us. He accordingly called upon all those with whom he had any dealings and settled up his accounts with them, but there were some who neglected to bring forward their books, consequently they were not balanced, or there were no entries made in them to show the settlement; but in cases of this kind he called witnesses that there might be evidence of the fact.

Having thus arranged his business, Mr. Smith set out for Palmyra, New York, with Mr. Howard. My sons Alvin and Hyrum followed their father with a heavy heart some distance. After the departure of my husband, we toiled faithfully until we considered that we were fully prepared to leave at a moment’s warning. We soon received a letter from Mr. Smith requesting us to make ourselves ready to take up a journey for Palmyra immediately. A messenger soon arrived with a conveyance for myself and my family.

As we were starting out on this journey, several of those gentlemen who had withheld their books in the time of settlement now brought them forth and claimed the accounts which had been settled, and which they had, in the presence of witnesses, agreed to erase. We were all ready for the journey, and the teams were waiting on expense. Under these circumstances, I concluded it would be more to our advantage to pay their unjust claims than to hazard a lawsuit. Thus I was compelled to pay 150 dollars out of the means reserved for bearing our expenses in traveling. This I made shift to do and saved sixty or eighty dollars for the journey.

A gentleman by the name of Flagg, a wealthy settler living in the town of Hanover, also a Mr. Howard, who resided in Norwich, were both acquainted with the circumstances mentioned above. They were very indignant at it and requested me to give them a sufficient time to get the witnesses together, and they would endeavor to recover that which had been taken from me by fraud. I told them I could not do so, for my husband had sent teams for me, which were on expense; moreover, there was an uncertainty in getting the money back again, and in case of failure, I should not be able to raise the means necessary to take the family where we contemplated moving.

They then proposed raising some money by subscription, saying, “We know the people feel as we do concerning this matter, and if you will receive it, we will make you a handsome present.” This I utterly refused. The idea of receiving assistance in such a way as this was indeed very repulsive to my feelings, and I rejected their offer.

We set out with Mr. Howard, a cousin of the gentleman who traveled to New York with Mr. Smith. I had prepared a great quantity of woolen clothing for my children; besides I had on hand a great deal of diaper and pulled cloth in the web. My mother was with me. She had been assisting in my preparations for traveling. She was now returning to her home in Royalton, where she resided until she died, which was two years afterwards, in consequence of an injury which she received by getting upset in a wagon while traveling with us.

When we arrived there, I had a task to perform which was a severe trial to my feelings, one to which I shall ever look back with peculiar sensations that can never be obliterated. I was here to take leave of that pious and affectionate parent to whom I was indebted for all the religious instructions as well as most of the educational privileges which I had ever received. The parting hour came. My mother wept over me long and bitterly. She told me that it was not probable she should ever behold my face again. “But, my dear child,” said she, “I have lived long. My days are nearly all numbered. I must soon exchange the things of earth for another state of existence, where I hope to enjoy the society of the blessed. And now as my last admonition, I beseech you to continue faithful in the exercise of every religious duty to the end of your days, that I may have the pleasure of embracing you in another, fairer world above.”

This parting scene was at one Willard Pierce’s, a tavern keeper. From his house my mother went to Daniel Mack’s, with whom she afterwards lived until her decease.

After this I pursued my journey, but it was only a short time until I discovered that the man who drove the team in which we rode was an unprincipled, unfeeling wretch by the manner in which he handled my goods and money, as well as his treatment of my children, especially Joseph. This child was compelled by Mr. Howard to travel for miles at a time on foot, though he was still somewhat lame. We bore patiently with repeated aggravations until we came twenty miles west of Utica, when one morning we were preparing as usual for starting on the day’s journey. My oldest son came to me and said, “Mother, Mr. Howard has thrown the goods out of the wagon and is about getting off with the team.” I told him to call the man in. I met him in the barroom, where there was a large company of travelers, both male and female, and I demanded his reason for such a procedure. He answered that the money which I had given him was all exhausted and he could go no farther.

I turned to those present and said, “Gentlemen and ladies, please give me your attention for a moment. Now, as there is a God in heaven, that wagon and horses, as well as the goods that accompany them, are mine. This man is determined to take away from me every means of proceeding on my journey, leaving me with eight little children, utterly destitute. But I forbid you, Mr. Howard, from driving one step with my wagon or horses. And here I declare that the teams, goods, and children, with myself, shall go together to my husband and their father. As for you, sir, I have no use for you, and you can ride or walk the rest of the way as you please; but I shall take charge of my own affairs.” I then proceeded on my way, and in a short time I arrived in Palmyra with a small portion of my effects, my babes, and two cents in money, but perfectly happy in the society of my family.

The joy I felt in throwing myself and my children upon the care and affection of a tender husband and father doubly paid me for all I had suffered. The children surrounded their father, clinging to his neck, covering his face with tears and kisses that were heartily reciprocated by him.

After assassin shoots at the boy Joseph but hits family cow, family protects Joseph.

At the age of fourteen an incident occurred which alarmed us much, as we knew not the cause of it. Joseph being a remarkably quiet, well-disposed child, we did not suspect that anyone had aught against him. He was out on an errand one evening about twilight. When he was returning through the dooryard, a gun was fired across his pathway with evident intention of killing him. He sprang to the door, threw it open, and fell upon the floor with fright.

We went in search of the person who fired the gun, but found no trace of him until the next morning when we found his tracks under a wagon where he lay when he fired. We found the balls that were discharged from his piece the next day in the head and neck of a cow that stood opposite the wagon in a dark corner, but we never found out the man, nor ever suspected the cause of the act.


Sources

Young Joseph by Ivan J. Barrett p. 25-31

History of Joseph Smith By His Mother by Lucy Mack Smith p. 68-72

History of Joseph Smith By His Mother by Lucy Mack Smith p. 76 

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