Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Nauvoo Legion

September 15, 1857

I overheard Momma and Father talking again, and this time he said that the Nauvoo Legion has been activated. Again. His words raised the hairs on the back of my neck and I was reminded of one of my earliest memories.

I was probably only three years old at the time. I remember we lived in a house with yellow walls. Momma's lace curtains, the same ones she uses in our house here in Deseret, hung at the windows. I asked about it once, and Momma said that the house with yellow walls was in Nauvoo, in a place called Illinois.

It was cold out, nighttime, and when Father opened the door and came in, snow swirled in with him. I was so happy to see him. He picked me up, so I could reach the little toy soldier that Momma had put on a high shelf.

Just as I grabbed it, a pounding came on the door, and a gruff voice. It turned out that it was Brother Orson Pratt, come to warn us that a mob was approaching. Brother Pratt, I learned much later, was a member of the Nauvoo Legion. Father went outside to talk to him, and Momma started bundling me in warm clothes.

Sure enough, just as Brother Pratt had warned, the mob soon arrived, bearing torches and shotguns. They asked if we were Mormons, but Father would not answer.

We were able to escape that night, but I don't know how. Momma hid me and my little brother under blankets in a wagon. All I remember was the jostling and the shouting and the sound of fire crackling behind us as Father drove the team away.

And now that the Nauvoo Legion has been activated again, and the soldiers are swarming all over Salt Lake--well, I don't know what will happen now. We had to flee from Nauvoo, and I wonder if we will have to leave this place as well.

It seems we are destined to be always on the run.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Mountain Meadows

September 14, 1857

I thought perhaps I would write entries in my journal once a week, but something has happened. Even though I wrote in here just a few days ago, I feel the need to get it down while the facts are fresh in my mind.

It all started when Suzannah and Phoebe, two of Momma's sister-wives, stumbled into the kitchen, holding onto Coralee who was crying. Coralee was once my best friend, but now she is Father's fifth wife, a situation that has put a strain on our friendship.

As I mentioned, Coralee was crying, and this was because of what had just happened. Suzannah and Phoebe said some soldiers forced Coralee to talk, to admit that they were all married to the same man. To Father.

The soldiers arrived in Salt Lake just a day or two ago. Father says they are here because the government is accusing us of attacking some wagon trains up at Mountain Meadows. They say the attack occurred on September the 11th, the same day as my birthday.

Father says that over one hundred twenty people were killed at Mountain Meadows. He says that Brigham Young at first blamed the Indians, then said that he had asked the Indians to attack the wagon trains for us.

Father says he doesn't know what to believe any more, and neither do I. Brigham Young is the Prophet, and we should be able to trust what he says. Momma has had her doubts about Brother Brigham for some time, though. I've overheard her talking to Father about that. Well, "talking" isn't quite the right word. More like quarreling!

First Post

September 11, 1857

My name is Isabelle Barton Waters, but everybody calls me Belle. I received this little red notebook today for my 14th birthday as a gift from my mother. I live in Deseret with my parents, Erastus and Mary Caroline Waters, my four brothers, Noah, Jonah, Uriah and Edward and my one sister, Sadie.

Although it sounds like my family numbers just eight people including myself, there are actually nineteen children in total in our household, and twenty-five people in all, counting Father's four other wives. Soon, there will be even more, since two babies are expected in the next few weeks and two more a few months hence.

It seems that somebody is always having a baby around here. I sometimes wonder if I will ever be a mother? I don't much care for the idea, since watching the children is a wearying task and I have done quite a bit of that already.