Aroet Hale, Autobiography, BYU Special Collections
Aroet Lucious Hale, 1828‑
Source: Journal of Aroet Lucious Hale, typescript, BYU‑S.
Aroet Hale Autobiography, typescript, BYU‑S, p.1
DIARY OF AROET LUCIOUS HALE
Journal of myself or in other words, I, Aroet Lucious Hale, born in Dover, New Hampshire, May 18th, 1828, which was the son of Jonathan H. Hale, which was the son of Eliphlet Hale, which was the son of Solomon Hale, which was the son of Samuel Hale.
My mother's name was Olive Boynton. Her father's name was Eliphlet Boynton, which was the son of Samuel Boynton. Her mother's name was Susan Nichols, daughter of Jacob Nichols. My father and mother received the gospel and were baptized in Dover, New Hampshire into the new and everlasting covenant, on the 13th day of June, 1834, by the hand of Elder Gladden Bishop, and ordained by him to the office of an elder in August, same year, to preside over the Church in Dover.
I left Dover, April the 10th, 1835, for Kirtland, Ohio, and arrived in Kirtland April 28, which was Tuesday, and Thursday received my patriarchal blessing April 30th, 1835, under the hand of Joseph Smith, Sr. I received many blessings while there. Left Kirtland on the 4th of May for the eastern states with the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb and traveled through the state of New York. Attended the different conferences. Left there in company with Elder John Murdock and traveled with him two weeks. Came with him to the Freedom Conference. When conference was over, left with Elder Heman Hyde with eight of the Twelve and President William Marks. Arrived at his house in Portage, stayed there two days. Left there in company with Elder Thomas B. Marsh and David W. Patten, thence to Palmyra to the home of Elder Martin Harris, thence to the Hill Cumorah. All went on to the hill and offered up our thanks to the Most High God for the records of the Nephites and other blessings. Then went about from house to house to inquire the character of Joseph Smith in previous to his receiving the book of the plates of Mormon. The answer was that his character was as good as young men in general. This was on the 30th day of May, 1835.
The above sketch is taken from my dear father's journal. He writes: I [Jonathan Hale] then left the brethren and pursued on my journey and arrived in Dover, New Hampshire, the 8th of June 1835, to the bosom of my family, after the absence of two months, in which time I traveled about 1550 miles. I then went to work for B. Wiggins about six weeks, then went to Bradford to a conference of the Twelve which was in July. After conference, I was reordained under the hand of Elder Thomas B. Marsh. I then took my team and carried three of them to Salem via Thomas B. Marsh, Parley P. Pratt, Heber C. Kimball, then returned to Dover with Elder Luke Johnson and Elder William Smith to my home. I stayed at home a few days, then took two horses and wagon and Elder Luke Johnson and went to the Saco conference. [I] met most of the Twelve there. After conference I took as many of the Twelve as I could carry via Elder Thomas B. Marsh, Parley P. Pratt, Brigham Young, Orson Hyde, and part of the time five. We went to Farmington and attended conference. After conference was over, we came back to Saco, and thence to Dover and thence to Bradford, making in all 3.20 miles.
I [Jonathan Hale] then returned to Dover and settled my business and moved my family to Bradford the 17th day of September, 1835. I lived with my father‑in‑law, Eliphlet Boynton, assisting him in selling his farm and property, which was done previous to June, 1836. I left Bradford (Mass) [Maine ?] with my family in company with Elder Henry Harriman and wife and Sister Mary Ann Boynton on the 16th day of June 1836. We had a pleasant journey and arrived in Kirtland, Ohio the 10th of July, all in good health and spirits, a distance of 750 miles. My family consisted of myself and wife, Aroet Lucious Hale, Rachel Johnson Savory Hale, Alma Helaman Hale. These are the names of my children. Aroet was born in Dover (New Hampshire) May 18th, 1828; Rachel was born in Bradford (Mafs) [Maine ?] August 27th, 1829; Alma was born in Bradford, April 24th, 1836. I also brought with me Sarah Ann Knight.
I [Jonathan Hale] stayed in Kirtland and worked at diverse kinds of work. My wife received her patriarchal blessing the 10th of November, 1836, in the Lord's house, under the hand of Joseph Smith, Sr.
The winter after I [Jonathan Hale] arrived in Kirtland, I was chosen to be one of the third quorum of seventies was ordained under the hand of Elder Harren Aldrich. On the 4th of April, a number of the seventies met at my house to receive their washing to prepare for the anointing. I received my washing under the hands of Elder Joseph Young, one of the presidents of the seventies. I received my anointing on the 5th of April under the hands of Elders Joseph Young and Harren Aldrich and received a great blessing.
April the 6th, which was the solemn assembly, then I [Jonathan Hale] received the washing of feet by Elder Heber C. Kimball and he pronounced me clean of the blood of this generation. I had traveled up to this time 2740 miles mostly on foot.
I, Aroet, moved to Kirtland, Ohio in 1835 with my father. There I was baptized, being nine years old, by Wilford Woodruff, into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‑day Saints, though a boy. I well remember many incidents that happened there, the apostasy of John F. Boynton, my dear mother's brother, and the cause of his apostasy. The Prophet Joseph Smith called on him for money. He had the money but refused. This was a turning point in his life. The Prophet wanted money to redeem land that he had bought in Jackson County, Missouri at the center stake of Zion. The burning of the printing office, the failure of the Kirtland Bank and other things cause great apostasy. Persecutions commence.
The Kirtland Temple was dedicated in 1836 on the 27th of March. On this occasion [April 3, 1836] the prophets Moses, Elias, and Elijah appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and committed the keys of their respective dispensations to him. The power of God was made manifest in a great degree. The visions of heaven were opened, angels administered to them. Beautiful singing was heard from the top of the temple in the evening. I well remember of hearing our parents talk of these things.
We children were taught to love the Prophet Joseph Smith, a man that could talk and converse with holy angels and our Heavenly Father. The Prophet Joseph had to flee from his enemies, persecution still raged, this being the third time that he visited Missouri. Many Saints followed after him. [Kirtland Camp] The first large emigration company of Saints of some seventy wagons 515 [?] Saints was organized and led by Joseph Young, Elias Smith, Henry Harriman, Jonathan Dunham, Jonathan H. Hale, and others [written in margin: president of seventies]. They started from Kirtland on July 4, 1837, and arrived in Far West on October 20th.
I will relate a few incidents that happened on our way to Missouri. My father was arrested with others and held for trial. He was supposed to be one of the directors of the Kirtland Bank. He had his trial. The third day, they overtook the camp. Brother Martin H. Peck had a child between 7 and 8 years old run over by a loaded wagon, the wheels passing over both his legs. The child was anointed with oil and administered to. The camp was only detained about one and a half hours.
The [Kirtland] camp, on arriving at Far West, the Prophet Joseph met them and pronounced blessings upon them. Father was sent with a small company of Saints to Adam‑ondi‑Ahman. Shortly after arriving at Adam‑ondi‑Ahman, Governor Lilburn W. Boggs issued his exterminating orders which gave the Saints the choice between banishment from Missouri and death. The mobbers soon renewed their depredations by burning houses, and killing and driving off stock. Soon orders came to lay down their arms on the penalty of death, if any were found in searching the tents and wagons. My dear father laid down two nice rifles. One was intended for me as soon as I was large enough to use it. Soon after, our tents and wagons were searched by a mob militia. My dear mother was lying sick in a wagon box in the tent. Four of the mob came into the tent to the back side of the bed. They took hold of the bed and threw her from one side to the other against the wagon box until she was nearly exhausted. They were powered black and looked like demons of hell. Other families and tents and wagons were served the same way.
After they had got all the arms, they took the brethren prisoners and marched them off. Father was among the rest. I was about the largest boy in camp. I had to cut wood and burn it into coals outside the tent, take the coals into the tent in a bake kettle to keep my dear mother and her little children from freezing. Father returned in a few days. We lived in the tent until it froze ice in Grand River until we loaded teams across on the ice.
There was an incident or two that I will make mention of. When father came into the tent to get the guns, he took them from under the bed where mother was laying sick. Father took from under the bed a pair of silver mounted derringer pistols. Mother said to father, "Jonathan, let me take those pistols." Father gave them to her. She put them into her bosom, one on each side. They were there when the mob was throwing her around in search of firearms. When we arrived in Quincy, Illinois, we did not have a spoonful of anything to eat and no money. Father took those pistols and put them in pawn for a little breadstuff that we children might eat before we slept.
Another incident: The mob camped along the bank of Grand River, so our horses and cows could not get a drink of water without going through their camp. There was a beautiful bull came with the cow herd from Kirtland, Ohio. One day the mob had that bull surrounded and was shooting at the brass knobs on his horns. They shot his horns all to slivers until they hung by the side of his head. The next day, he was found dead near their camp.
Father had a good team and wagon when we went to Missouri. He lost everything and was held out of Missouri by one of the brethren by the name of Bird. Father worked in Quincy, Illinois a few days and formed an acquaintance with one Robert Stilson that had a farm twenty miles east of Quincy. Mr. Stilson offered my father all that he could raise on the farm and pay him the money for all the improvements he could make in the way of fencing and repairing buildings, etc. This was in the spring of 1838 after being driven out of Missouri by a mob. Father continued working on the Stilson farm until he was able to buy him a good span of horses, harness and wagon. He then fitted up for Nauvoo during our stay on the Stilson farm. The Prophet Joseph [Smith] bought a large tract of land called upper Commerce, afterwards called Nauvoo, on the Mississippi River. There the Saints gathered and the Nauvoo Temple was built. Father moved to Nauvoo in the spring of 1841.
On arriving at Nauvoo, he unloaded his wagon at the south end of Brother John P. Green's house and commencing hauling rock on the [Nauvoo] temple and never ceased until he had paid up two and a half year's back tithing here at Nauvoo.
I became better acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith. I was in my 17th year when the Prophet Joseph [Smith] and Hyrum Smith were martyred. I well remember many incidents that happened while living in Nauvoo. I was well acquainted with the Prophet's most bitter enemies, John C. Bennett, Dr. Foster, the Higbees and Laws. They were all members of our Church. Bennett was an adulterous man. The Prophet told him of his wickedness and warned him to repent. This made him more angry and he swore vengeance against the Prophet Joseph Smith. They were finally cut off from the Church. They then went to Warsaw among the mob. They never ceased their cursed threats until they killed the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum Smith at Carthage Jail, Hancock County, Illinois. This occurrence took place on the 27th of June, 1844.
I well remember the day that the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum Smith were brought into Nauvoo. Our parents all went out to the street as the procession passed along the road. The city was in one complete scene of weeping, mourning, and lamentation after the bodies arrived at the mansion house. It was enough to break the heart of a stone, to hear Grandmother Smith and the Saints weep over the loss of their dear Prophet and patriarch, Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Brother John Taylor was brought from Carthage on a sled on account of his wounds. He could not be brought on wheels. When Governor Ford demanded the state arms, they were surrendered to him. When Joseph and Hyrum started with the rest of the brethren to go to Carthage, Governor Ford pledged his honor and the honor of the state that Joseph should be protected back to Nauvoo.
The Prophet Joseph predicted a curse on John C. Bennett. He told him if he did not repent of his sins and sin no more, the curse of God Almighty would rest upon him, that he would die a vagabond upon the face of the earth, without friends to buy him. He told him that he stunk of women. In the year 1850, President Young was speaking about the matter. He said that he had watched the life of John C. Bennett. Bennett went to California in the great gold fever excitement, that Bennett died in one of the lowest slums of California, that he was dragged out with his boots on, put into a cart, hauled off, and dumped into a hole, a rotten mass of corruption. This prediction or prophecy came to pass as well as many others that I heard the Prophet Joseph make.
The Nauvoo Temple was dedicated May 1, 1846. I was ordained an elder in the Church, also received my washing and anointing in the [Nauvoo] temple the same year. I will relate a few incidents that I heard and saw. The Prophet set the pattern for the baptism of the dead. He went into the Mississippi River and baptized over 200. Then the apostles and other elders went into the river and continued the same ordinance. Hundreds were baptized there, with the instructions from the Prophet Joseph to have the work done over as quick as the temple was finished, when it could be done more perfect.
Another incident worthy of note: The Prophet Joseph was visiting at our house on one occasion and spent the evening. My father was a bishop of one of the wards. With the Prophet's consent, father invited in his counselors and a few of the good old staunch brethren. Among the few was Uncle Henry Harriman, one of the first seven presidents of the seventies, and Jonathan H. Holmes, and several others of fathers old stand‑by friends. This circumstance took place at my father's house, Jonathan H. Hale, bishop. This was the first time that our parents had ever heard the Prophet speak on the subject of celestial marriage.
During the evening, the Prophet spoke to Uncle Henry Harriman. Said he, "Henry, your wife Clarisa [?] is barren; she never will have any children. Upon your shoulders rests great responsibilities. You have a great work to perform in the temple of our God. You are the only Harriman that will ever join this Church." He even told him the lineage that he was of and told him that he must take another wife and raise up a family to assist him in his great work, and to honor and revere his name. The Prophet also told Aunt Clarisa [?] that if she would consent to this marriage and not try to hinder Henry, that she should share a portion of the glory that would be derived from this marriage. Uncle Henry Harriman was finally convinced that the command that the Prophet Joseph had given him was right. In a short time, he took a young woman and was sealed by the Prophet. He brought her to the valleys. They have raised a family of children. They have done a good work in the St. George temple. One son has been called on a mission. Uncle Henry Harriman lived a few years in Salt Lake City, was called to Dixie, lived in Washington near St. George a few years, then moved to Huntington and died at Huntington. The seventies built a fine monument in honor of him.
I, Aroet Lucious Hale, was in my 17th year when the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum were martyred and was acquainted with them as military officers. Lieutenant General Joseph Smith was a fine‑looking officer. I was a drummer boy in the Nauvoo Legion. I frequently serenaded the Prophet Joseph and was on several parades when General John C. Bennett challenged General Joseph Smith to take one of the escherts [?] and he one and fight a sham battle. General Smith declined, settling bitter enmity in that way.
I heard General [Joseph] Smith make his last address to the Nauvoo Legion. [18 June 1844. See HC 6:497‑500] It was called the sermon on the house top where he said that he had unsheathed his sword for the last time, that peace was taken from the earth. I was with the Nauvoo martial band at the mock funeral of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. The object was to decoy our enemies.
The Nauvoo Temple was dedicated May 1st 1846 by Orson Hyde, one of the apostles. I received my washings and anointings in the temple and was ordained a seventy and placed in the 19th quorum of seventies, Samuel Moore, senior president.
Early in the year 1846, the Saints commenced to leave Nauvoo. February 15, Apostle Brigham Young and others of the Twelve Apostles with their families, crossed the Mississippi River and camped on Sugar Creek. My father was a bishop, Jonathan H. Hale, and stayed in Nauvoo until every Latter‑day Saint was out of Nauvoo, across the Mississippi River. President Heber C. Kimball returned from Sugar Creek to Nauvoo. Lacking a teamster, father went with President Kimball. They could not hire a man or a boy in Nauvoo. Finally, Brother Kimball asked father if he could possibly spare Aroet Lucious. He said he would. I was soon fitted up, went to the temple the last day but one that they worked in the temple.
I had my endowments and started for Sugar Creek and organized into the great camp of Israel, bound for the Rocky Mountains. The camp stayed here until the first of March, Sunday morning, being the first of March. President Brigham Young called the people together. We had a good meeting. The orders were for every man to be ready to roll out and start his journey at 10 o'clock the next morning. The main camp started. Our travels were very slow, not averaging more than four miles a day when we traveled. The whole camp had to cut browse and herd their cattle and horses. They were very poor. Some died. We arrived at the east fork of Grand River on the 25th of April.
Sunday, the 26th [April 1846], a grand meeting was called. President Young spoke on the principle of stopping here and opening up a farm, putting in gardens and crops, building houses for the poor that was left behind that could not get any further.
Monday, the 27th [April 1846], the men were all called together and organized into different companies, some to splitting rails, some to cutting house logs, and some to digging wheels, every man to work at the best advantage. I was organized into the company to cut house logs and build log cabins.
Friday, the 1st of May , we raised the first log house on the farm. We continued working on the farm until the 16th of May, then left Garden Grove. The Twelve and a large portion traveled on until the 23rd of May and camped on Grand River. Here a part of the camp was called upon to stop and put in another farm crop.
Sunday, the 24th [May 1846] we had a good meeting. The Twelve spoke well. It was considered best for all that could not make a good outfit to stop on the farm. I continued working on the farm until the 16th of June. I then was counseled to return to Nauvoo to meet my father. I met my father on Soap Creek, 50 miles from Mount Pisgah, that being the name of the farm that we built on Grand River. We arrived at Mount Pisgah the first day of July, father being counseled not to stop but to proceed on to the bluffs of the Missouri River.
We continued our journey, and started on the 2nd of July . We arrived at the bluffs on the 16th of July. While traveling through Iowa, the Saints were called upon to raise five hundred men to participate in the war with Mexico. Father camped on Mosquito Creek about nine miles from the trading post on the Missouri River.
July 16  in obedience to a call of the authorities of the camps of the Saints, the men all met at headquarters on Mosquito Creek. Colonel Thomas L. Kane who had arrived in camp, and Captain Allen, were present. President Brigham Young, Captain Allen and others addressed the Saints in regard to furnishing the battalion. Four companies were raised on that day and the day following.
I had a desire to go with the battalion as a drummer boy, being a member of the martial band in Nauvoo, taught by Edward Duzette, drum major of the Nauvoo Legion. President Heber C. Kimball talked to me. Said he, "Aroet, you have been away from your father and mother five months in the camp of Israel, as a teamster. Your dear father is on crutches with a broken leg and no help but your mother and her little ones." I took President Kimball's counsel and well that I did. Father was called as one of the high council to preside on the east side of the Missouri River. The council picked for their winter quarters Council Point, near the Missouri River, and commenced cutting timber and preparing for winter.
The weather was very warm, the river water very bad and in a few weeks nearly all the camp was taken down with the chills and fever. A great many died. My dear father died September 4, 1846 and my mother September 8, 1846; only four days between their deaths. Mother was confined about ten or twelve days before father died and having the chills and fever, being very sick, she gave up all hopes. She said that she had no desire to live. She would soon go and join her companion, Jonathan H. Hale. She said she was always happy with him. Mother was kneeling beside the bed when father drew his last breath. I led her to the wagon which was in the rear of the tent. She called Sister Allred and Sister Morley, wives of two of the counselors, into the wagon and told them where father's temple clothes were and how she wanted him dressed. She also told them that she wanted her sister Clarisa Harriman to have her infant baby and Clarisa never had any children. Uncle Henry Harriman had crossed the Missouri River and was at Winter Quarters. Sister Allred and Sister Morley started after mother died, with the infant. They came to the ferry boat on the river. The wind blew so hard for two days that the boat could not cross the river. During that time, the infant died and was brought back and buried with its father and mother.
After mother had talked about father's burial clothes and the infant, she called me into the wagon. Said she to me, "Aroet, promise me one thing, that you will take good care of my darling children and go to the mountains with President Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball. There is where your dear father started to go with them. Don't be persuaded to turn back by any of our relations that are writing to us. Do as I have counseled you and I bless you and the Lord will bless you. These are about the last words that my dear mother ever spoke on her dying bed. I never have forgotten those words. I promised her that I would do as she had requested me to do. I kept my promise good.
I arrived in Salt Lake Valley in the fall of 1848. The family was as follows: my sister Rachel, 17 years old, my brother Alma, ten years, brother Solomon, seven years. Father died with the chills and fever that turned to sleepy lethargy. The elders would come into the tent and try to arouse him from his sleep. They would get him onto his knees and get him to praying. He would pray a short sentence, then fall asleep on his knees. Then they would arouse him and he would pray a short sentence and fall to sleep. The last words that he ever spoke were in prayer to God, our Heavenly Father. President Heber C. Kimball and others came and administered to father several times.
I will here relate a prophecy of President Kimball upon my head. I was taken sick before my father, with the ague and fever shock about two hours in the forenoon and a burning fever in the afternoon. I was not able to take care of myself. Brother Kimball came into the tent where I was laying on the bed. He said, "Aroet, where are your cattle that your father moved into this camp with?" Father nor me has seen an ox or cow for two weeks. Says he, "Aroet, if you will get up tomorrow morning and go and hunt cattle enough to move your wagons out of this camp, up to Winter Quarters, you never shall have another ague shake as long as you live." I tried to make some excuse but no good. Some of the brethren and sisters had gathered around the tent door, hearing them talk to me. Said he, "Will you go?" I said, "I will try to go." Brother Kimball then spoke to Uncle James Allred [written above line: then administered to me]. Said he, "Brother Allred, you have a horse, saddle and bridle here tomorrow by eight o'clock. Brother Hale is going to get cattle enough to take his wagons up to Winter Quarters, at my camp, a distance of twelve miles."
In the morning, Brother Allred was there with the riding animals which were a little white mules which belonged to some of the brethren that had come from Texas that year. I started according to agreement. They watched me as far as they could see me. Some of the women said that I would never return alive. Some found fault with Brother Kimball to sending a boy as sick as I was alone to hunt cattle. I rode to Mosquito Creek, fives miles. I was nearly checked for water. I corralled my mule to the creek and had a good drink of water, laid back on the bank to rest me, and fell asleep. I did not wake up until after dark. I found my mules a short distance below on the creek. I caught the mules and was thinking what to do. I had not seen any camps as yet on the creek. While thinking what course to pursue, I heard a dog bark up the creek. I crawled on to the mule and started up the creek. I soon found a camp and told them who I was and what I was after. The man was a little acquainted with father. They took me in and took care of me and in the morning sent a boy with me. The third day I found three oxen and one cow. I returned to camp. Some were surprised to see me. Others were soon inquiring about Brother Kimball. Previously I told them I had not had an ague shake once I left them. I then and there bore my testimony that if there ever was a prophet of God on this earth, that President Heber C. Kimball was one.
The next morning, the brethren helped me hitch up my teams. I put the heaviest yoke of oxen on the heaviest wagon, the ox and cow on the light wagon. My sister Rachel drove the light wagon, and I the other wagon. We arrived at the boat landing all right. Brother Heber C. Kimball was there and soon I was told to drive my wagon onto the boat. I will here say that others had to pay one dollar a wagon, but I was told to drive off.
Brother Kimball walked ahead of the wagons and piloted me to where Uncle Henry Harriman was building his cabin. They were pleased to see us children. My health had improved from the time that Brother Kimball had administered to me and promised on my head up to that time. Uncle Harriman had his cabin three rounds high. I went to work with oxen and wagon and we put a room onto the end of his house. My sister Rachel was old enough to keep house for me, and we were soon comfortable for the winter.
I will here say that President Heber C. Kimball and President Brigham Young were always very kind to me. Brother Kimball made me promise that I never would make any general move without counseling him. I always kept that counsel or promise as long as he lived. And I was always blessed and prospered in doing so.
Winter Quarters was soon a city of log and sod houses, divided into 22 wards, each presided over by a bishop. The first of December, Winter Quarters inhabitants numbered 3,483 souls. Many Saints suffered and died on the banks of the Missouri River. The Saints on the east side of the river were divided into wards and presided over by bishops. Also a high counselor was appointed; they made their quarters at Council Point. My father was one of the council and took sick and died there. Also my mother.
President Brigham Young and the apostles commenced to organize the camps by appointing captains of hundreds and fifties. The captains were directed to organize their respective companies. This was about the 16th of January, 1847. I attended the meetings and heard the counsel that was given to the Saints. None was to start with less than the required amount of bread stuff: one cow to two persons, seed grain, seed potatoes, and a good outfit for one year. I knew that I could not go in 1847. I had not more than one‑half the required amount of bread stuff, less one yoke of oxen, less seed grain and a great many other things that were required to make outfit. I saw that I had to go to my counselor and advisor as I had agreed to do, President Heber C. Kimball. I told him I had attended the meetings. I had heard the counsel that was given to the Saints. I told him that I was one yoke of oxen less, about one‑half the amount of bread stuff less, and no seed grain. Said he, "Aroet, there are a great many that will have to stop until another year, some of my family, some of President Young's family will have to stop. We have established a farm, each for portions of our families and friends that wish to join us. My farm is six miles up the river and President Young's is twelve miles up the river. There is a track of land there that you can raise a good crop of corn, squashes and potatoes and other vegetables. Be industrious. Raise all you can and next year you shall go to the mountains with me.
Uncle Henry Harriman had not the required amount and he concluded to go to the Kimball farm. A great many that had not the required amount recrossed the river and took up land and farmed. Their headquarters was Kensville. I joined with Uncle Harriman. We worked together and raised a good crop of corn and vegetables. During the fall and winter I made several trips down into Missouri, worked and pedalled some things that we could do without, such as ironware, shovel and tongs, andirons, flatirons and heavy cooking utensils, which lightened up our load and helped make our outfit.
Tuesday, the 9th of May, 1848, 22 wagons, the first of the season, left Winter Quarters for the valley. The first week in June, President Young broke camp at Elkhorn and started for the Great Salt Lake valley with a company consisting of 662 souls and 226 wagons. I was organized into Heber C. Kimball company, first fifty. Henry Harrison, captain of first fifty. My outfit consisted of two yoke of oxen and one yoke of cows. One yoke of oxen on one light wagon and one yoke of oxen and one yoke of cows on the heavy wagon.
The family was as follows: I, Aroet was the oldest. I had charge of the family; I was in my 20th year. My sister Rachel, in her 16th [written above line: 19th] year. My brother Alma, in his 12th year. My brother Solomon in his 9th year. I was appointed one of the hunters for the first 50 hours. Eastman was my hunting companion. Buffalo and antelope were very plentiful and common up the Platte River. We had good luck and supplied our division with what buffalo meat they needed while we were in the buffalo country.
Our travels across the plains was a long, tiresome trip over one thousand miles with ox teams. It was hard on old people and women with children. The young folks had enjoyment. Presidents Young and Kimball were very kind and indulgent to the young. They frequently stopped within a mile or so apart. The young would visit from one camp to the other and frequently would get music and have a good dance on the ground. Sometimes the older folks would join with us. On one occasion, President Young took part in the enjoyment. I formed an acquaintance with a young lady crossing the plains that I afterwards married. Her name was Olive Whittle, a daughter of Thomas Whittle, formerly from Canada. So I did my sparking along the road. So I did not have so much to do after I got into the valley.
On our travels, as we neared the valley, we met Saints of 1847 on their way back to the Missouri River after their families that were left, also quite a number of [Mormon] Battalion boys. My dear old friend, Lucus Hoagland was one of the number. He found what he was looking for, my dear sister Rachel Hale. They commenced keeping company before they left Nauvoo. Of course, he turned about and came into the valley with us.
We arrived in the valley of Great Salt Lake in the fall of 1848. We camped around the Old Fort that the pioneers of 1847 had built. In the fall of 1848 all the Saints had liberty to scatter out and farms nearby settlements, and settle on their city lots. President Kimball, my good advisor, sent for me to come and see him. Said he, "Aroet, you are naturally ingenious. Go to the adobe yard and make you 7 or 8 hundred large Spanish adobes. While they are drying, enclose one of your wagons. Go to the canyon and get a load of logs. Take them to the saw pit. Have them sawed for your doors, frames and window frames, and by that time I will show you your city lot."
I did as my advisor counseled me to do. I took one of the end gates out of the wagon and went to the carpenter shop. I found there Brother Shumway Carpenter, an old Nauvoo acquaintance. He was glad to see me and soon had a pair of adobe molds made. The adobes that were first made for our small houses was 18 x 9 x 4, what were called Spanish adobe. The first week I had my seven hundred adobes laid out to dry. I unloaded one wagon and went to the North Canyon in company with other teams, got a small load of logs, and took them to the saw pit which was run by Blazard. For my share, I got lumber enough to make us one door frame, two window 6 liter frames and two plates for the wall.
I was now ready to report to President Kimball, my advisor. Said he, "Aroet, come up onto the city town site tomorrow afternoon and I will show your city lot." I went as agreement and found quite a number of the brethren and the surveyor, surveying ten acre blocks. Brother Kimball walked with me to what is known as North Temple Street to the second block below the northwest corner of the temple block on the north side of the street. He came to the southeast corner stake of the block. There were but four corner stakes stuck on the block. Said Brother Kimball, "Right here on this lot number one belongs to Brother Henry Harriman. Lot number two belongs to Brother Aroet Hale, Lot number three belongs to Sister Broomhead, Lot number four belongs to Brother Thomas Whittle. He looked at me and laughed. Said he, "Do you know Sech Amon [?]. I said, "I hope I shall know his daughter better."
I soon had my wagons on my lot. One was loaded and I commenced hauling stone, sand and clay. By the time the foundation was laid, the adobes were ready to haul. I commenced the Beckend House in the 17th ward. The wards were soon laid off. My city lot was in the ward. Bishop Joseph L. Laywood was the first bishop. I was called and acted as teacher in the ward and was soon ordained a seventy and placed in the 19th quorum of seventies. In September 15, 1849, I married Olive Whittle, daughter of Thomas Whittle. We were married by Heber C. Kimball. A short time after we were married and sealed in the endowment house.
In the spring of 1849, I drew or received five acres of land laying on the beach, a little below Father Neff's mill, now situated in what is known as the Sugarhouse Ward. Here my first experience in irrigation commenced. My brother‑in‑law, Lucas Hoagland, one of the battalion boys, secured from his father, the late Bishop Hoagland, three pecks of seed wheat. It was planted in the following manner by advice from forty‑seveners in drells [?] eighteen inches apart, the water furrows between the rows. I watered my wheat from Mill Creek. It came up and looked well. I watered it once a week. About the middle of June, I went to water my wheat and to my surprise it was covered with crickets. Myriads of big black crickets came down from the mountains and began to sweep away fields of grain. I lost the most of my little crop of wheat. The most of the barley grain near the city was saved by immense flocks of seagulls which came and devoured the crickets. This was considered a God send and many escaped what might have been a severe famine. A fine of five dollars was placed upon the head of anyone that killed a seagull. One thing singular, the oldest mountaineers and trappers said that they never saw a seagull until after the Mormons settled this country.
In consequence of the scanty harvest of 1848, bread stuff and other provisions became very scarce. Many had to eat raw hides, dig segos and thistle roots for months. I was one of that number. The last of June, just before harvest, was the hardest time of 1849.
I will relate a little incident to show to our children and the rising generation how their parents suffered in the early days of 1847, 1848 and 1849. Lucas Hoagland moved my sister Rachel Lavory Hale late in the fall of 1848. Our families then consisted of five in number, Lucas and wife, my brother, Alma Helaman Hale, age ten, my brother Solomon Elephlet Hale, age seven and myself. After Lucas married my sister Rachel, of course I had more help to sustain the family. It fell to my lot to attend to watering the wheat. We had two cows, luckily both giving milk. When I went to the field to water the wheat and fight the crickets, I used to drive one cow to the field with me at night, milk the cow, and strain the milk. As soon as it was cool, I would stir in two or three spoonsful of moldy corn meal, set it over the campfire, make my porridge and go to bed. I did the same in the morning. This was better with the blessing of the Lord on it than boiled rawhide and thistle roots. For dinner, I would take my shovel and go out on the bench land and dig segos which were plentiful, thank the Lord.
Aroet Hale Autobiography, typescript, BYU‑S, p.20
While I was tending the wheat, Lucas was working around where he could get a little provisions for the family. He used to go to the Provo River with fishing parties, catch fish, salt and dry them. They were very good and considered a rarity.
I will relate a little incident to show how hard it was to get bread stuff. My wheat was heading out and commenced turning a little yellow. I thought I could glean a little out that would do to thresh and grind in a hand mill, which many did. I saw several going to Neff's Mill with small grists of corn that were rare in 1848. The thought struck me that I might be able to trade for some. I had a fine little saddle horse that Lucus Hoagland had told me to trade for bread stuff or edibles of any kind. I saddled up, went to the mill, and saw several there begging or trying to (some widows with families). I spoke to Neff and told him my situation. I offered him the horse, saddle and bridle (a new California Macheir [?] saddle for three pecks of corn meal, one peck to take home with me, one peck the next week, the third peck, the third week. Now for the answer. Said he, "You great booby, here trying to get three pecks of meal. There are women here begging for two quarts to take home with them to feed their little children." This anger hurt my feelings very badly. I thought of the situation I had left the family in in the morning, without a spoonful of anything to eat of bread stuff kind. Then I cried like a baby to be called a booby for trying to make an honest trade with the miller.
I continued fighting crickets until nearly night, when I heard a noise towards the mouth of Emigration Canyon, a little north of me. I looked and to my surprise, I saw a train of four‑ and six‑horse wagons coming out of Emigration Canyon. This proved to be a company of the gold emigration, the first that arrived in the valley. I sprung to my horse and went across the bench into their camp. I was the first Mormon boy in their camp. They appeared to be very much excited over gold and the mines and asked many questions. What news from the gold Mines? Is there any more of the battalion boys come in? What news do they bring? Have you seen any? Have you got any gold? I had very little that Hoagland had given me to try and get a little bread stuff with. I let them see what gold I had. They were all excited in a minute and all had to see the gold dust. While they were looking at the gold dust, an old gentleman touched me on the shoulder and beckoned me to one side. Said he, "I have a span of young American colts, four years old. They have been worked on lead, and have pulled themselves down very poor." Said he, "I will give you that span of young horses, their harness and lead bars for your pony, saddle and bridle." I told him that I would go with him and see the horses. We went, and he showed me the horses. They were as he reckoned them to me. I thought of the trade I had offered the Miller Neff a few hours before. I thought of my sister and the little boys at home without anything to eat but a little milk and segos for supper.
Said I, "Could you spare me a few pounds of flour, a small piece of bacon, a quart of beans or any kind of vegetables?" "Come to the wagon and I will see what I can find." He got into the wagon, threw out a sack with eight or ten pounds of flour, ten pounds of bacon and by that time the boys had gotten supper. They invited me into the tent. There I ate the best supper that I ever ate, or relished the best. I had not tasted nice white bread and fried bacon for months. I led my horse to the city. When my sister Rachel saw the flour and bacon, she wept for joy.
Gold emigration continued to come and they were willing to trade their poor stock for those that were in better condition. The gray horses that I got for the saddle pony brought me two yoke of oxen and wagons and a nice suit of clothes. This reminds me of a prophecy of President Heber C. Kimball two months before the gold emigration came into the valley. He prophesied that clothing would be cheaper in Salt Lake City than it was in New York City. We saw this prophecy come to pass. They were loaded too heavy to continue their journey and all had something to sell or trade, horses, harnesses or wagons, clothing, provisions, cooking utensils, stoves, tents, guns and ammunitions. This was considered a God send.