From OUR PRICELESS HERITAGE” compiled by Lucretia Lyman Ranney, 1959, page 6 of Edward Partridge section.
Edward Partridge was a son of William Partridge and Jemimah Bidwell. He was born 27 August 1793 in Pittsfield, Berkshire, Mass. He married Lydia Clisbee in Kanesville, Ohio, August 19, 1819. She was the daughter of Joseph Clisbee and Miriam Howe and was born 26 September 1793 in Marlboro, Middelsex, Mass. She died 9 June 1878 in Oak City, Millard, Utah and was buried in Fillmore, Utah. Edward Partridge died 27 May 1840 in Nauvoo, Illinois.
When a young man, Edward Partridge learned the hatter trade and, as was customary in those days, he followed the water fronts where it was possible to get beaver which was used extensively in their work. He was in New York for a time in company with Asa Marvin, but later bought Mr. Marvin’s interest and moved to Painesville, Ohio, not far from Lake Erie. Here he established his business and became quite well to do. He built a good home, a shop and a barn; he owned two lots adjoining the public square and had a twenty-acre wood lot adjoining the town. His daughter, Emily Young gives a very good description of their home there and tells of the happy times enjoyed there. Here five daughters were born and one baby boy, Clisbee, who died at birth.
To this peaceful home came four “Mormon” missionaries in 1830. They met Edward Partridge in his shop but he told them they were imposters and refused the Book of Mormon. But after they were gone he sent a man after them to get a Book of Mormon. Lydia, however, believed it to be the truth and was baptized by Parley P. Pratt. Edward was soon convinced of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and made a trip to New York to see the Prophet Joseph Smith, who baptized him on the 11 December 1830 in the Seneca River. He went on his way to Mass. to visit his family, feeling very sure that they would see the light as he had done. But his family refused to listen to him. One of his sisters shut the door in his face and refused to let him in. Some of his friends who were waiting in Painesville for his return and for the report that he had promised to bring back, had confidence that he would tell them the truth, but when he returned and told them what he thought, many of them turned against him.
In December 1830 the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation in which the Lord says: “Thus saith the Lord God, the Mighty One of Israel, Behold I say unto you, my servant Edward, that you are blessed and your sins are forgiven you, you are called to preach my Gospel as with the voice of a trumpet, and I will lay my hand upon you by the hand of my servant Sidney Rigdon, and you shall receive my spirit, the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter which shall teach you the peaceable things of the kingdom, and you shall declare it with a loud voice saying, Hosanna, blessed be the name of the most high God.” Doc. and Cov., Section 36, verses 1 - 5. And again on the 4th of February 1831, the Prophet received a revelation in which the Lord says: “And again I have called my servant, Edward Partridge, and I give a commandment that he should be appointed by the choice of the Church and ordained a Bishop unto the Church, to leave his merchandise and to spend all of his time in the labors of the Church. And this is because his heart is pure before me for he is like Nathaniel of old, in whom there is no guile.” Section 41.
Accordingly Edward put his property in the hands of a man he thought to be a friend, with instructions to sell it; but the man was not faithful to the trust and Edward and his family received very little from the property.
Edward Partridge was ordained an Elder in December 1830 by Sidney Rigdon and was set apart as Bishop 4 February 1831 by Sidney Rigdon and ordained a High Priest 6 June 1831 by Lyman Wight.
This was an entirely new experience for Edward, a successful business man, to be transferred abruptly from his prosperous business and called to devote all of his time and efforts to the work in the new and unpopular Church. Later he wrote to Lydia telling her how much he felt this great responsibility and his great desire to do the work acceptably. He said “I must not fail, pray for me that I will not fail.”
He sent his family in company with others to Missouri; they left the river about one hundred miles from Independence and rented a room from a family of Negroes and waited there for Father to come and get them. The room they had was dark, the only light being what came down the chimney, and the only way out was through the room occupied by the negroes. Contrast this uncomfortable situation with the comfortable home they had so recently left. Here the father found them and moved them to Independence in very cold weather where they rented a house until Edward could build one on his own land. They lived in their own home while they remained in Independence.
On the third of August (1831), I proceeded to dedicate the spot for the Temple, a little west of Independence, and there were also present Sidney Rigdon, Edward Partridge, W.W. Phelps, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, Joseph Coe and Newell Knight. The scene was solemn and impressive. D.H.C. Vol 1, page 99.
In July 1833, Edward Partridge was taken forcibly from his home by members of the mob, taken to the Public Square and covered with a coat of tar and feathers. One man raised a whip with the intention of whipping him, but a “friend to humanity interfered and prevented it.” His daughter, Eliza tells in her journal how frightened the children were when he came home. Some of his friends spent most of the night removing the tar which had been mixed with some kind of acid which burned the sensitive flesh. Lydia at this time had a baby boy about three weeks old, who was named Edward for his father.
The persecution continued here. In the fall, Edward Partridge, John Corrill, John Whitmer, William W. Phelps, Algernon S. Gilbert and Isaac Morley offered themselves to be tortured or slain as the mob desired if they would leave the rest of the Saints in peace. They were told that every man, woman and child would be whipped and scourged even to death if they did not leave Jackson County. A contract was signed by the Mormons and some members of the mob to the effect that the Bishop and some others with their families were to leave Jackson County by the first of January 1834 and the mob was to leave them in peace while they made their preparations. The mob, however, did not keep their part of the agreement, and on 5 November “gangs of men, sixty or more went from house to house, whipping the men, driving the women and children at the point of their guns from their homes and then setting fire to the houses.”
More than 200 homes were destroyed. The 7th of November the banks of the Missouri were lined with refugees, gathered in the utmost confusion, so hasty had been their flight, many leaving a trail of blood in the frozen stubble, from their lacerated feet.” The rain came down in torrents that night. The provisions they had laid up for winter along with their homes and all their improvements were again left behind.
In Clay County, across the river north, they were received temporarily with some degree of kindness. Here the Bishop laid up some house logs and stretched a tent over them, where he left his family while he went to find a house. He found a miserable old house with one fireplace and he and Brother John Corrill moved their families into it. They stayed in this old house while in Clay County, which was about two years, while Edward filled a Mission to the Eastern States and preached in Ohio. Their next move was to the County of Caldwell where they remained two or three years, having bought land and built homes; improving their surroundings as they always did if they were left alone for any length of time.
July 4, 1838 the Saints at Far West celebrated Independence Day. “The people assembled at the excavation previously made for the building of the Lord’s House and the cornerstones of the proposed Temple were laid. The southeast cornerstone was laid by Bishop Edward Partridge, assisted by twelve men, and the northeast cornerstone was laid by the Teachers assisted by twelve men. Sidney Rigdon was orator of the day, and at the close of these services, the assembly shouted Hosanna, and after singing they adjourned.”
While here, too, the Bishop was again forcibly taken from his home by the mob and sent to prison in Richmond, without due process of law, where he was held for three weeks. Not only the mob, but the State authorities, decided that they must leave that county. The Bishop went ahead and left his family to manage as best they could; but arranged with King Follett to bring them to Quincy, Ill. From there they went to Nauvoo where the saints were gathered. In Nauvoo he found a place for his family to live and started to build a house on a lot of his own. First he put up a stable, but before it had been used as such he decided to move his family into it so he could be nearer to his work of building and making a garden.
Just before moving, his nineteen year old daughter, Harriet Pamela died 16 May 1840. This was a sad affair for the family. Before the family were moved to the log stable, in fact they had one more load to move, when the Bishop was taken sick and in ten days he died and left his family most uncomfortably situated. His daughter Eliza says, “He was completely worn out with the hardships and fatigues of moving and exposure caused by our enemies who never slackened their hands, but persecuted us continually.”
Died – In this place on the 27 May, Bishop Partridge, age 46 years. In recording the death of this our brother we record the death of one of our earliest and most faithful and confidential members. His life was one continual exhibition of the sincerity of his religious belief, and a perpetual evidence of his confidence in a future state of rewards and punishments. In view of which he has always acted– his strict regard through life to all the commandments of Heaven, and his undeviating obedience to them are consoling evidences to his friends, that if there are any such things as rewards in the future world for well-doing in this, he is certain of enjoying them. No man had the confidence of the Church more than he. His station was highly responsible, large quantities of property EVER ENTRUSTED TO HIS CARE. Deeds and conveyances of land to a large amount were put into his hands for the benefit of the poor and for the church’s purposes; for all of which the directest account was rendered, to the fullest satisfaction of all concerned.
And after he had distributed a handsome property of his own, for the benefit of the poor, and being driven from his home, found himself reduced to very limited circumstances, still not one cent of public property would be used to indemnify himself or family; but distributed it all for the benefit of the widow, the fatherless and afflicted; his decease leaving his family in very ordinary circumstances. Had there been one covetous desire in his heart, no man had the opportunity better to gratify it; but he has left a testimony to be had in everlasting remembrance that he lived above its influence and over him it had no control; but in all things he had respect to the reward of the just.
A life of greater devotedness to the cause of truth, we presume was never spent on this earth. His religion was his all, for this he spent his life and for this he laid it down. He lost his life in consequence of the Missouri persecutions and he is one of the number whose blood will be required at their hands.
As a church we deplore our loss, but we rejoice in his gain. He rests where persecutors can assail him no more.
From the “Nauvoo Neighbor” issue of June 1840.