05 October 2014

Autobiography of John Tidwell (1807-1887)


John Tidwell, son of William Tidwell and Sarah Goben, born January 14, 1807 in Shelby County, Kentucky. From there my father moved to Henry County in the same state and there near the fork of the Kentucky river and there he was called on to go and in defense of his country in the time of the War of 1812 and 1813. And on his return home he was taken sick from much exposure and died from which he underwent and others underwent. He died at a place then called Fort Ball.
Fort Ball, Ohio
This war was between the United States and Canada. Soon after which the war the news came to my mother of the death of my father, afrer [sic] whcih [sic] she moved to her fathers who lived in the State of Indiana. Her Father’s name was William Goben and her mother's name was Rebecca Goben. Some little time after my mother moved to Indiana, she married a man by the name of John Conner a half brother to my wife Jane Smith. I will say here that my mother had five children by her first husband, my father, Namely: John, Littleton, Kaney [Nancy], Mariah, and William. These five were born in the State of Kentucky. After she married John Conner, her second husband, she had eight children, Namely: James, Lewis, Mary, Isaac, Wesley, Alexander, Robert, and John [jr.].

December 18, 1828, I was married to Jane Smith, Clark County, Indiana. September 25, 1835, I was baptized into the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by Levi Bracken in connection with Uriah Curtis. These two was on a mission to Belher at that time. I was living at this time of my life in Clark County, Indiana. November 20, 1835, I was ordained an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ and left in charge of a small branch of Saints which had been baptized previous to this time. Say about twelve in number, which increased to about 22 or 23.

September 11, 1839, I left together with the Church at Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois. I reached there November 6, 1839; where I remained till after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith which took place June 27, 1844, by a mob while they was in charge of the law at Carthage and in the jail.

In the fall of 1844, I was ordained a seventy and organized the [ninth] quorum of the Seventies.

I must say in connection without stay in Nauvoo, which was not six years, we had a great deal of sickness and trouble by out-laws of the State of Illinois, who continually sought to disturb the Saints. June 10, 1844 the Nauvoo Expositor a libilous [sic] paper edited by the Laws and Fosters was considered a nuisance by the City Council of Nauvoo and was destroyed by the Marshall of the City, John P. Green. Great excitement arose about this time in the county of Hancock, by the mobbers [sic] of the state of Illinois so that the Governor of the State, Thomas Ford, with pretense of protection came to Carthage, the county seat of Hancock on the 27th day of June, 1844. While Ford was in Nauvoo with pretense of friendship, a mob broke into the jail where Joseph Smith, the prophet and Hyrum Smith, the Patriarch, and Willard Richards and John Taylor was confined under pretense of a law and martyred Joseph and Hyrum Smith and wounded John Taylor. These days of trouble for the Saints in the County of Hancock, Illinois, were unforgettable.


June 5, 1852, I left for Salt Lake Valley, from Council Point, southwest of Kanesville, Iowa, crossed the Missouri river June 8, 1852. The fifth company was organized for crossing the plains the present season by Ezra T. Benson. I was appointed Captain of the fifth company for crossing the plains. The journey of the company will be found in another book kept by the clerk of the company. The record of the Fifth Company of 1852 shows the rest of that journey. September 5, we arrived at Salt Lake City. After a few days I moved to Utah County, to a place called Pleasant Grove, July 14, 1853.  I was ordained to President of Seventies at Provo, by Joseph Young, Andrew Moore, Uriah Curtis, and David Hunt. Joseph Young took the lead and afterwards [I was] assigned to the Thirty-fourth Quorum of Seventies and appointed to preside over the Mass Quorum of Pleasant Grove, Utah County.

I lived at that place from September 20, 1852 until June 9, 1859, when I concluded to go to some place where I could get land enough for farming and grass. So as to provide for my family and also on account of things being in such a bad state that I feared my family would get into bad habits such as I did not wish them to do. I thought I would move to some other place, so I moved to Sanpete County, where I arrived June 13, 1859, a distance of about 80 miles to Mount Pleasant.

On the 19th of June, I was appointed to take charge of the building of the East wall of the Fort. Twenty six rods long and twelve feet high, four feet thick at the bottom and two feet at top, which was completed before the 24th day of July the same year. This was on account of the Indians.

(John Tidwell died January 24, 1887 at Mount Pleasant and was buried there. His wife died May 20, 1893.)