Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Life Sketch of John Ammon Powell Which He Dictated

I John Ammon Powell, was born in Pisday, Ill. Nov. 27, 1844, the fourth child in a family of nine. My father, James Powell was born in 1809. He was from North Carolina. My mother was Jerminah (Jemima) Wimmer Powell, she was born in the state of Indiana.

My father was a partaker (victim) of the Missouri persecutions against the Latter-Day Saints. At one time he refused to sign a petition against the Mormons. In consequences of his refusal the mob used violence against him, cursed him, and struck him on the side of his skull with the barrel of a gun. After a long sick spell, he recovered, but even after his recovery the left side of his body remained paralyzed.

My parents arrived in Utah, Oct. 13, 1852. We came in the company of Captain Robert Wimmer. We went directly to Ogden and lived there until 1854. My father drowned in the Weber River west of Ogden, July 2nd, 1854. I was then I my tenth year. After the death of my Father, my Mother disconnected with the location and moved to Springville, Utah. My Mother endured many hardships.

From the time I was thirteen years old I managed an ox team. For years I hauled timber and cordwood from Lamb’s canyon to Salt Lake City. I went to Kamas Valley in 1858 and took up a homestead. At that time there were only two houses in the Valley. I built the third house. It was for my Mother. I cut and hewed the logs and laid them into the wall with my own hands, without any assistance. It was big, comfortable one room house.

I was at that time fifteen years old. Mother lived in the house two years. Later I built another log house near my mother’s. It was a great improvement over the first one. I was married January 13th, 1863, to Hannah Matilda Snyder. My first two children were born in Kamas. The third house I built in Kamas was better than the first two, but the fifth house I built in the Valley was the best of all.

The Black Hawk War drove us out of Kamas. Everybody had to move, so I moved to Lamb’s Canyon, where I could work and not be troubled by Indians. I never had any particular trouble with the Indians; although I met them in dangerous moods. In 1861 while I was in Kamas Valley cutting hay with a mower (scythe or cycle) where a band of fifty Indians formed a circle and camped just above where I was working. They had scalps of seven white men hosted on poles and were firing shots and yelling.

Incidents in the Life of James Powell as Related by his Wife After his Death

One day while we were living in Caldwell County, Mo. We were visited by what might be termed a mob, composed of the following persons: Arthur F. Wethers, John Gardner, Riley Sanders, Clark Ellis and Philon Ellis. They requested my husband to join the forces against the Mormons. He told them that if they had no Federal Authority to molest them he could not go. They replied warningly, “If you do not join us we will kill you.” Following this they went in the direction of my father’s home. Fearing for the safety of our small daughter, who at the time was at my father’s place, we followed them, little knowing what might occur. As we were about to overtake them, they stopped and ordered us back. My husband said we were going after our little child.

At this remark three of the men sprang from their horses, and one a Mr. Wethers, caught up a stick and struck my husband between the shoulders, causing him to turn around and grapple with Wethers, who then shouted for help. Gardener shot at my husband, missing him, and not wanting to endanger a fellow posse man, Gardner then used his gun as a club and struck him on the head several times. I ran for help, but as the posse left I ran and lifted my husband’s head, thus relieving his pain as best I could until my mother and two sisters came to my assistance. They were Latter-Day Saints so they immediately administered to him by laying on of hands. After they had administered the ordinance he arose and walked to my father’s house about two hundred yards away.

When the men left they gave us warning that if we were not out of the place by the time the sun was a yard high the next morning they would return and kill all of us. Thinking that these fiends might return and carry out their hellish threats we decided it was best to leave. We packed up our things in the wagon and started that very night for Huntersville (a town about four miles away). We arrived there the next afternoon after driving all night through wooded country; being followed by the posse who were determined to see us well out of the country.

Upon our arrival in Huntersville we were immediately surrounded by a crowd of about three hundred men. They asked what he had in the wagon. They then asked if we had anything done for him and if we were Mormons. We had done very little for him and neither one of us was a Mormon, and had never heard a Mormon preach. One of the men then told us to go to a certain vacant house. Arriving there they took my husband out of the wagon, laid him on a door and the Doctors performed an operation on his head. They cut his scalp in four parts, drew down as far as his ears and forehead. Then thinking we would tell the posse they left him in this condition.

Incidents in the Life of Robert Wimmer Brother of Jemima Wimmer Powell

I Robert Wimmer, son of Peter and Elizabeth Shirley Wimmer, was born in the state of Pennsylvania in the year A. D. 1805. I moved with my father to Cincinnati, Ohio, in the year 1808, when Cincinnati had not more than 550 inhabitants. From there I moved to Gold Vain 11 miles west, and from there 5 miles still west. Here Father opened a large farm in the timber.

Here I got my first pair of pants. I wore long shirts. I expect I was ten years old before I owned a pair of pants or shoes. My mother had to make all our wearing apparel out of flax, tow and wool. Wool was carded by hand and spun on a little wheel. I can well recollect when the women made their dresses out of four yards of yard wide home made cloth. They made their skirts wide enough to run in. They made our shirts out of flax. Domestic cotton was not then worn. The women said it was so hard to wash, they would rather make linen than wash cotton cloth. You could hear the buzz of the little wheel in every home.

My father was called to war in 1814 under General Harrison and left my mother with four little boys in winter time. It was a hard winter too. There was a mad dog that came and drove us up on the loft and kept us there 30 hrs, when a neighbor man came in and rescued us from danger.

About the year 1820 my father hired me to an Indian trader and took me to Andersontown, twenty five miles north of Indianapolis, on the White River, a Delaware Indian Village. I became a great favorite with the Indians and they offered a very high price for me in horses. My father got uneasy about me and took me home. One, Ben Davis, and his squaw followed to steal me, but kept watch. Some of the Delaware Indians have silver ornaments, such as broaches. Half moons hung down their back. They wore large nose ornaments. They had the rims of their ears cut.

They laid their dead on top of the ground near black posts with a cross near the top and built pens around them. I was at one of their grave yards one day. Seeing a considerable pile of tobacco, I slipped a piece. One of the Indians saw me and gave me a chase. He over took me and picked me up by the seat of the pants and back of the neck and threw me against a big stump and came very near to caving my side in. Some of the Indians would bury their dead in great logs, others upon trees. The trails or roads were very narrow, as they always grew one right after the other. Their trail some places was very deep for roads.