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Wife number 19

by Ann Eliza Young

Chapters 27-31

Chapter XXVII


How Brigham Travels through the Territory. - Triumphant Receptions Everywhere. - Trying to Establish the "Order of Enoch." - How the Prophet Insulted his Faithful Followers. - " Rheumatism in the Temper - Grand Doings in the Settlements. - We go to meet the Prophet. - How the Saints were Lectured in the Bowery. - How Brigham gave Howard a Piece of Land. - Howard Insulted by the Prophet. - Overlooking the Prophet's Lies. - Van Etten becomes Brigham's "Friend." - He Helps Him to Steal a Hundred Sheep. - He makes a Big Haul, and Escapes to Canada. - The Prophet Ogles Me during Service-Time. - We Take a Walk Home Together. - He Compliments My Good Looks. - Makes Love to Me. - Matrimonial Advice. - Brigham Wishes Me to Become His Wife.

UPON Brigham Young's arrival at South Cottonwood, he was very warmly welcomed, all the people turning out to join in the demonstrations.

This is the usual custom; consequently his travels through the Territory are a perfect ovation. He is generally accompanied by some members of his family; perhaps one or more his wives, and one of his sons. It has lately always been Brigham, Jr., his intended successor, who is taken along, to be initiated into the proper method of doing things; one or more of his counsellors; some of the apostles, and whoever else he may choose to invite to join his party. They go in carriages, and form in themselves quite a procession.

He is met outside of every settlement which he visits by a company of cavalry; and a little farther on, just outside the entrance to the town, he is met by another procession, - Sometimes of the children alone, but oftener, in the large settlements, where they are ambitious to do the thing up in shape, of the entire population who are able to turn out, men, women, and children, headed by a brass band, all ranged along to give greeting to the Prophet. They are arranged in different sections, each section having its appropriate banner. The elderly and middle-aged men are all together under the banner "Fathers in Israel." The women of the same ages are ranged under their banner, "Mothers in Israel." The young men are proud enough of the inscription which theirs carries, "Defenders of Zion;" and he young girls are fresh and lovely under their banner, "The Daughters of Zion, - Virtue; " while the little wee bits. are placed last of all, are "The Hope of Israel." Other bear the inscriptions, "Hail to the Prophet;" "Welcome to our President; "God bless Brigham Young;" "The Lion of the Lord; " and others of a similar nature are seen along the line of the procession.

As the President and his escort pass down the long line, the band plays, the people cheer, men wave their hats, women their handkerchiefs, and the young girls and children toss bunches of flowers; and their Prophet - if he chances to be in a good humor - bows and smiles to them as he passes; and everything is gay, and bright, and merry, and the people are very happy because of the success of their Prophet's reception.

Now and then their gaiety has a dash of cold water from the object of all the display, and they see all their preparations go for nothing, and are made to feel that all their labor has been in vain, as happened not long ago in Salt Lake City. Brigham had been on a long trip through Southern Utah, endeavoring to establish the United Order of Enoch, with but indifferent success, it must be confessed, in consequence of which he was in anything but good humor with his "rebellious people."

On his return he was met at the station by thousands of his people, who had gathered in unusual numbers, and with unusual display, to meet him. As he stepped from the car, cheers arose from the mass of people, the band played, and all eyes were turned on him, anxiously watching for a recognition. What was their surprise and chagrin to see him step from the car to his carriage, enter it, close the door, and drive away with out the slightest notice of their presence, seemingly oblivious to everything about him!

The Saints returned to their homes feeling exceedingly hurt and grieved, but the next Sabbath their Prophet endeavored to soothe their outraged feelings and smooth matter's over with them, in the following "explanation:" -

"Brethren and sisters, you may have felt hurt at my not recognizing your greeting on my arrival. If so, I am sorry; but I had just had an attack of rheumatiz in my left foot."

The apology was accepted; there was nothing else to be done. The Prophet had made what he considered the proper amende, though some of the brethren were so irreverent as to remark afterwards that they "guessed the rheumatiz' was in his temper," on account of his failure to gull the people with his last "effort for their spiritual"- and his temporal - "advancement."

Usually he is in high good humor, and beams on his followers with the most patronizing and reassuring of smiles, accepting all the homage as though it were his by "divine" right. Royalty itself could assume no more the manner of receiving only what it is entitled to, than this ex-glazier, who used to work for "six bits" a day, and who begged the farmer for whom he had done two half days' work to give him a new coat, since his old one was too "rusty" to go on a preaching tour in, and the "spirit" had suddenly called him from the haying field to a Methodist meeting in the neighboring town.

While on his journeys, he is always taken to the best house in the place, and everything is done for his comfort; his followers are taken by other residents of the town, a dance is given in the evening, which takes the place of the usual "reception" elsewhere; he is serenaded by the bands and parties of singers, and all night the militia keep sentry about his headquarters. Altogether it is quite a gay thing to go visiting the settlements, and no one likes it better than the Prophet himself. It is the grand event of the year to the Saints, and they make such extensive preparations for the occasion, that many of them have to live very close, as they express it, for months afterwards.

As a matter of course, I helped welcome the President to Cottonwood: so did all the family; and, as we were all old friends, we were glad to see him personally, as well as spiritually, my mother especially being overjoyed, for there was always the warmest friendship between them; indeed, their friendship dated back to the days before they went to Kirtland. At Nauvoo they had been next door neighbors, and he used to be very fond of playing with the "baby." Since then he had helped the "baby" to escape from a domestic thraldom which was harder than she could endure, and she was grateful to him accordingly. I think neither mother nor daughter would have joined so heartily in the welcome, had they known what misery the visit was to bring.

The Sunday services are always largely attended, and as no house is sufficiently capacious to hold all who assemble to listen to the Prophet, the meetings are held in the "Bowery," which is a sort of improvised tabernacle, with open sides, and roofed over with branches of trees. He usually makes this the occasion for reprimanding the people for their sins, dwelling particularly on the extravagance of women in dress, and the habit, among some of the men, of whiskey-drinking. He came out very strong this time, and the poor Cottonwood Saints were exposed to a merciless fusillade from the Prophet's tongue. He was more than usually denunciatory and scathing, and he made this the occasion for abusing Mr. Howard, the owner of the distillery. After he had got well warmed up, he said Howard had not a cent in the world which he had not given him, and added,


"I even gave the poor, mean scapegrace the very land he lives on."

This was more than Howard could bear, even from his Prophet, and he jumped to his feet, excitedly shouting, -

"It isn't so, and you know it isn't. I bought the land off you, and gave you twelve hundred dollars for it."

"You lie!" roared Brigham; "I gave it to you."

"Yes, for twelve hundred dollars," was Howard's reply.

"I never got a cent for it," screamed Brigham.

"You're the liar, and you know it," retorted Howard.

I don't know how long this Sabbath-day quarrel would have lasted, had not Brigham happened to think it was a little out of order, and also to discover that Howard, who was in a great rage by this time, was bound to have the last word. He stopped the dispute, and, turning to the congregation, said,

"Is there no one who will remove that man from this place?"

Instantly ten or fifteen men started to their feet, and rushed towards the offender; but a man named Van Etten, being much nearer to him than any of the others, reached him first, and led him out of meeting; so there was no opportunity for any of the others to exercise their zeal in the Prophet's behalf. At the close of the services, Brigham publicly thanked Brother Van Etten, and called him "the only friend in the congregation."

The following Sabbath, the party were at Willow Creek holding meeting, and as what he was pleased to term " Howard's insult" was rankling in his memory, he could not refrain from referring to it in his sermon, which he did in the following truthful manner:-

"I was never so insulted in my life as I was at Cottonwood last Sabbath. I called seven or eight times for some of the brethren to lead Howard out, and not a man responded but Brother Van Etten. I know how it is; you and they are all bought with Howard's whiskey."

Now, the news of the encounter had reached Willow Creek before the Prophet and his party, and nearly every one present knew that Brigham had only called once for his opponent to be taken away, and that his call had been, promptly responded to. But they attributed his misstatement to the Prophet's bad memory. They knew, too, that none of them were bought with Howard's whiskey; but perhaps Brigham thought they were, and it was only "one of his slight mistakes;" so they let it go for what it was worth, and the Prophet felt better after venting his ill-temper.

It was soon after this that Howard was sent on the mission that has been referred to in a previous chapter. Van Etten's fortune was made from that moment. The Prophet's heart was full of blessings for him, and found vent in the following benediction : -

"The Lord will bless you, Brother Van Etten, for so nobly coming forward in my defence. You are the only man out of several thousand that paid any attention to the insults I received. I want you to understand that from this time I am your friend."

The Cottonwood Saints were very much surprised at Brigham's warmth, for Van Etten was well known as a worthless, dissipated character, and if Brother Brigham found any good in him, it was more than anyone else had succeeded in doing.

The Prophet and Van Etten were ever after bosom friends let the latter do what he would. Brigham would shield him from all difficulty. One instance of this protection of his protégé came directly under my notice. Van Etten stole a hundred sheep from my brother, who prosecuted him for it. When the trial came on, the evidence was as clear as possible against him; yet Brigham controlled the whole affair, and his "friend" was released. All who knew the facts concerning the case were astonished that even Brigham should do such a very unjust thing as to clear him; but at that time the Saints did not dare to criticise the Prophet's actions as they do now, and all they said was, "There probably is something good about Van Etten that Brigham has discovered which we were unable to see."