Thursday, September 9, 2010

Reading my Great-Grandpa's Journal

I feel very fortunate that my GGpa on my mother's side of the family kept a journal. He was born August 10, 1817, in Dryden, New York, and died July 23, 1903 in Utah. The family first came to America in 1633 and settled in Wethersfield, Connecticut, and have scattered across the country since then. But my ggpa left New York as a young lad when the family moved to the Kirtland-Painesville area, in Ohio, and on May 26, 1838, they began the journey to Far West, Missouri.

He relates the day-to-day travel, miles, wheels broken, axle trees broken, etc., and other problems that came up on the trip. From Painesville, Ohio, to Far West, Missouri, it was 855 miles, crossing Indiana and Illinois and down into Missouri. They arrived at an uncle's house ten miles east of Far West on August 30, 1838, and found themselves in the midst of the Mormon troubles. The local people resented the Mormons for moving into their country with their "strange" ideas of the Christian religion, my words not his, and they formed mobs to chase them out, killing some and being killed. He states that the mobsters burned their own houses and left the county and blamed the Mormons for it to further alienate them and the Governor of Missouri supported them. And the upshot of all this mobbing and countering was that they were driven from Missouri in May 1839. He went to Illinois, settling near Quincy and also visited Commerce (name later changed to Nauvoo).

This diary was published in June 1984, first printing, and second in June 1997, and was 947 pages long in three volumes. This printing contains all three volumes in one heavy book, plus some auxiliary pages, pictures, and an index.

It's a first-hand account of some events in American history as seen through his eyes, and it will be interesting to see what transpires as I read along through it.


  1. That journal is priceless in its own way. You must be fond of it.

  2. Fascinating, Oscar. Thank you.

  3. Gary: I am, but it's taken awhile to start reading it. My cousins have put a lot of work into it to get it published.

    Valance: I hope the journal entries prove fascinating and so far they have, but there's a long way to go.