Emily Partridge Young, 1824–1899

Source: Emily Dow Partridge Smith Young, Autobiography, typescript, HBLL.



Salt Lake City, Utah; April 7, 1884


What I remember, I have been requested to write a short sketch of my life, and as I have kept no journal of my early days, I will have to depend mostly upon my memory.


I was born on the 28th of February 1824 in Painesville, Geauga County, Ohio. I was the third daughter of Edward and Lydia Clisbee Partridge.


My parents emigrated from Massachusetts to Ohio, where they became acquainted and married. My father was doing a thriving business as a hatter. He had accumulated considerable property and had provided a very pleasant and comfortable home for his family. I was quite young when I left Ohio, but I will try and tell you some things that I remember about the home of my earliest childhood.


I remember a frame house with one large room and two bedrooms on the first floor. Opening from mother’s bedroom were two closets, one large and one small one. The large one was fitted up with shelves and was used for a kind of storeroom. The half story above consisted of one large and one small bedroom and a clothes closet. On the landing at the top of the stairs were large bins for storing flour, meal, etc. The front door opened into an entry, or small hall. The stair went up from this small hall—or rather entry. The kitchen was in the basement. Opening from the kitchen was a dark vegetable cellar which was sometimes used for shutting up the children when they needed punishing.


I remember once my sister Harriet was shut in the dark, and how sorry I was for her, for to a child, darkness has all the horrors imaginable. I do not remember ever being shut in there myself, but if I was not, it was because I was not old enough, not because I did not deserve it; for I was the most mischievous of the whole flock.


The well with the “old oaken bucket” was near the kitchen door. The front yard was a green plat with rose bushes and sweet brier growing under the front windows. In back of the house was a garden with red and white currants; no black and yellow currants, such as grow so luxuriant in these mountains were ever seen there. I remember an arbor, or summer-house, as we called it, with seats on both sides and covered with grapevines with clusters of blue grapes hanging among the leaves and twigs, beyond our reach as one might suppose. But children, though small, will find some way of getting such things, and we were not exceptions to that rule. I think the grapes were Issabellas, for I never eat an Issabella grape without thinking of my father’s garden.


I remember a variety of flowers such as pinks, daffodils, blue bells, lily, iris, snowballs, etc. that lined each side of the path leading from the house to the arbor. And then I remember the patches of tall grass—almost as high as my head was then, and how we children would tie the top of the grass together to make houses for our dolls. I remember the delicious cling-stone peach that grew near the back of the house, the cherry tree that stood in the corner of the lot, and the large weeping willow near the shop. There was a flat embankment running the whole length of the back of the house and a frame covered with grape vines, both shading the house and making a nice shady place for the children to play and we took possession of it. Not that we played there all the time by any means, for we were like gypsies roaming around from one place to another and we were not stinted for room as some children are in large cities.


Not far from the house, next to the street, was father’s hat store and how I used to rummage under the counter, child fashion, looking for treasures, such as bits of red, blue, green and gilt leathers, such as are used to line hats and boys’ caps. And oh! how I would sometimes bump my head when I would raise up, and then how I would cry. Joining onto the back of the store was the shop where the hats were made. In the center of the room was a large iron kettle, about as large and shaped something like our bathtubs. It was fitted into a furnace. It was for coloring hats. Above the kettle was a large wheel, with pegs to hang the hats on to be colored. The wheel was kept turning so the hats went into the dye and then into the air and then into the dye, and in that way they were prevented from spotting. In coloring black the light and air are very essential to make a good color. In this same room there was a screen with a spout that drained into a barrow in the cellar. It smelled very much like the old-fashioned blue dye.


I remember upstairs, the long table where the workmen pulled and whipped the furs. I remember the implements they used, even the thumbcots, the shape of the hats before they were blocked and furred, and after they were pressed, and the blocks that would fall to pieces when they were taken out of the hats.


Further back in the lot was a large frame barn, and a large yard full of black fowls and sometimes the cow and horse would stand there.


The hay in the barn loft made a good place also for us to play and we would ransack the hay for hen’s nests. And when we found one full of eggs we were as happy as if it was a gold mine.


On the corner of the place was a vacant lot (but it was all fenced in with the rest; I presume that father had preserved it to some time build a nice house) covered with green grass where we would spend most of our time playing with packing boxes. We would build houses by placing boxes in positions to make a great many rooms and as there was different-sized boxes, we had a great many different-sized rooms. And when we got tired of one kind of a house, we would change it by placing the boxes in a different position. And so we would roll those boxes from one side of that piece of ground to the other. And we always had plenty of help from the neighbor’s children.


But with all the abundance of play ground that we had it seems that I was not satisfied for I would run away to the neighbors’ and then I would be brought back and tied up to mother’s bedstead with a long rope that would reach to the sitting room. I used to cry a little but soon forgot all about it, until I would start up again to run away, when the rope would stop me and then another cry. But they would not keep me tied up always, so I would be off again. And once when I was out in the street a pet lamb of one of the neighbors’ took after me and I really thought it would devour me if I let him overtake me. But I beat him, running, and got home first. I also remember being chased by a big boy when I was playing in an old house across the street. Of course, he only wanted to scare me, but I did not know it then and I thought he certainly meant to kill me; and did think so for years afterwards. It is not a good plan to fool with children, for they take everything in earnest and are apt to form wrong impressions that will be lasting.


My father and mother made a visit to their relatives living in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, taking their oldest and youngest children with them, leaving me and my sister Harriet with Aunt Phoebe Lee who lived in another town not far away. There I was again chased by a girl. She got my bonnet and ran home with it. I thought the children in Unionville (the place where my aunt lived) were “awful” mean. Well I guess you think I remember a good many silly things, but there is one thing I do not remember now although my oldest sister says I was once positive that I could remember when my father and mother were married, and that I was at their wedding. However, I have no recollection of it now.


Well if you are not too tired, I will write a little more of my youthful recollections.


I used to sleep in my mother’s bedroom in the little trundle bed. But one morning when I woke up I was in bed in the spare bedroom with my little sister. When we got up we were shown the little dead baby boy and oh how sorry we were that he was dead, for we had never had a little brother before (he was named in the St. George Temple, Clisbee Partridge). He was mother’s fifth child.


I remember my little playmates. There was little Edward Huntington. I called him my baby because I loved him the best of all. Of course, in children the motherly instinct predominates. And then there was Lucy Phelps and Mary Ann Seely and the little lame girl. Her name was Dorthie Ann Payne. What a treat it was when she would let me take her crutches for a little while. I thought I would almost be willing to be lame myself if I could have such a nice pair of crutches. And then there was Sarah Granger, who was very small for her age. Her uncle, with whom she lived, used to call her “Peny.” Yes, I remember the big unruly boy that was tied up in the shop. And how sorry I was for him. He was sometimes tied up because he would run away. He was a poor friendless boy that nobody could do anything with, and the town officers got father to take him and teach him a trade and try to make a good boy of him. His name was Harlow Castle. I sometimes wonder whatever became of him and if he really was a bad boy or whether people had no patience with the poor friendless boy. I wonder if he is still alive and if he remembers the little black-eyed girl that would come in the shop and look on him with such pity because he was tied up, for this little girl had been tied up for running away too and knew how to feel for him.


I think I must have had a rummaging disposition for I remember every nook and corner of the house, store, shop and from garret to cellar, inside and out. I remember the orchard that was in another block, and the pasture land that was down in the woods where we would go in a wagon to gather chestnuts and butternuts. I remember we had plenty to eat and wear and would sometimes ride in a spring wagon and I wore the sweetest pink calico dress that ever was, and little yellow shoes. Harriet had a pink dress too but not as pretty as mine (as I thought.) Well I think my father must have been almost a rich man when I look back and consider the amount of property he owned. But when “Mormonism” came, our home went (whether it was sold or not, I do not know.) And I have never had such a home since. It was some time in the year 1830 that four elders came to Ohio. Their names were Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, and Ziba Peterson. My mother soon believed the gospel after she heard it; and was baptized by Parley P. Pratt. My father was not so ready to believe at first, and told them he thought they were impostors when Brother Oliver Cowdery said he was thankful there was a God in heaven who knew the hearts of all men.


What they said must have made considerable impression on his mind, for he sent to them after they were gone to Kirtland, to purchase a Book of Mormon. And then he concluded to take a trip to New York and see the Prophet for himself. And this is what Brother Joseph says of him (in his history):


“It was in December 1830, that Elder Sidney Rigdon came to inquire of the Lord, and with him came that man of whom I will hereafter speak more fully, named Edward Partridge. He was a pattern of piety, and one of the Lord’s great men, known by his steadfastness and patient endurance to the end.” Brother Joseph baptized him in the Seneca River on 11 December 1830.


He then went to visit his relatives, who reside in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, anxious that they should hear the joyful tidings that so filled his heart with gladness. He thought they had only to hear, to believe it. But, oh! how disappointed he was when they rejected him with his joyful news. They pronounced him crazy, and one of his sisters ordered him out of her house, and said “she never wanted to see him again.” What a bitter spirit lays hold of the unbelievers as soon as the truth is presented to them, and those that profess the most religion are the most uncharitable. When my father returned to New York, his parents sent his youngest brother to accompany him, they thinking him deranged and not capable of taking care of himself. But this brother, after he arrived in Painesville, received the gospel and was baptized. His name was James Harvey Partridge. They reached home about the beginning of February 1831.


From New York, home, my father traveled in company with the Prophet who was moving his family to Kirtland, which had been appointed a gathering place for the Saints. After his arrival home, his old and most intimate friends that had been so anxious for him to go and find out the truth of the reports about “Mormonism” because of his honesty and superior judgment, pronounced him crazy when he declared the Book of Mormon true.


The Saints began to gather to Kirtland from all parts of the country where the gospel had been preached; and as we lived about three miles from the landing, our house made a good stopping place for the Saints, and we had more or less of them stopping there from that time on while we remained in Ohio. The barn loft was filled with boxes of goods belonging to the Saints. And how I did wish I could see what was in those boxes, but they were nailed up tight and not a crack left to peep in at. Well you see, young as I was, I had a little of the curiosity attributed to our sex.


Some of the Saints, traveling through Painesville to Kirtland and stopping at our house, brought the measles and mother’s children all took them. Some of them were very sick. When I was recovering from measles, I took the canker, and could not eat for a long time. I well remember the day I could eat a little custard. Oh! how good it was. Mother had company that day and how nice the table looked with the old-fashioned blue and white china. Well, my mouth got well, but my ear was sore for years and I can’t tell you how I suffered with it both from pain and mortification of pride. When my ear did get well, it left me deaf and I have been deaf (in that ear) ever since.


After my parents had joined the Church they were seized with the spirit of gathering, as everybody is, as soon as they are baptized. My father bought a house and lot in Kirtland, but he never had the privilege of living there as you will see.


On 4 February 1831, my father was called by revelation [D&C 41:9] to be a bishop in Zion, and was ordained to that office soon after. Some time in June following, Brother Joseph, with several of the brethren started for Missouri, my father being one of the number. They reached Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, about the middle of July. After located Zion (in Independence, or that town being the center spot) and transacting other necessary business, the brethren returned home, leaving my father to remain in Zion as he had been appointed by revelation to labor in that place and to take up his residence there and send for his family. My mother felt that her trials had begun when my father was called to accompany the Prophet to Missouri. Her children were just recovering from the measles, and her oldest child was still very sick with lung fever. It was a new thing for her to be left alone in the hour of trouble, or to have any responsibility outside of her little family. But she was one of the “staunch and true” and knew it would not do to put the “hand to the plow” and then turn back. She could ever acknowledge the hand of the Lord in her trials as well as her blessings. I think it was a great trial for my father to be left in Missouri. He expressed great anxiety about his family in a letter that he wrote to my mother.


It seemed to him a very great undertaking for mother to break up her home and prepare for such a journey with a family of little children, without her husband to advise and make arrangements for her, for she was then young and inexperienced in such things. My father felt the great responsibility resting upon him. His own words will better express his feelings, as he wrote them to mother, than any language of mine can possibly do. He says: “I have a strange desire to return to Painesville this fall, but must not. You know I stand in an important station; and as I am occasionally chastened, I sometimes feel as though I must fall, not to give up the cause, but fear my station is above what I can perform to the acceptance of my Heavenly Father. I hope you and I may so conduct ourselves as at last to land our souls in the haven of eternal rest. Pray for me that I may not fall. Farewell too for the present.” Dated Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, 5 August 1831.


My father placed his business in the hands of a young man by the name of Harvey Redfield. His property was sold at a great sacrifice (as much as was sold at all), so much so that his friends pronounced him insane. They could not see what there was in religion to make a man give up all worldly consideration for it. And that is still a mystery to the world and we cannot wonder at it when we realize how little they have in theirs to create hope, or to exchange their worldly comforts for. But ours is different, it is everything. There is nothing in this life too dear to sacrifice for the hope of the future that our religion gives us.


The next season mother with her family started for Missouri, in a company of Saints under the direction of W. W. Phelps and A. S. Gilbert. Mother must have had a great deal to try her on that journey that we as children knew nothing about. What little money she had with her to defray her expense, she was advised to put into the hands of W. W. Phelps and he cheated her out of it. We went down the Ohio River to Cincinnati in a keel boat. Then we took a steamboat and went up the Missouri River. It was on this boat that our provision chest was rifled and thrown overboard. We saw it floating downstream and knew it at once. The lid was open and we could see that everything had been taken out but the papers that things were packed in. Once when the boat landed, one of our company, a young woman, Electa Camberlin, [Chamberlain?] slipped from the plank into the water, but was soon rescued again. When we were within about one hundred miles of our destination we met the ice coming down the river so thick that the boat could not proceed and we were forced to land at a place called “Arrow Rock.” On the banks of the river there was a log cabin occupied by Negroes. There were two rooms, with no windows. The light was admitted through the open door, a common thing then in the Negro cabins, and white folks too sometimes. These Negroes let mother and Sister Morley have one room. There was about fifteen in number in both families. But there was a fireplace in the room. We could have a good fire, and so kept from freezing. We remained here about two or three weeks, it being very cold weather.


At the end of that time a large Kentucky wagon was procured and the two families and their effects were stowed into it and we started again for Independence. The weather was still very cold, so cold that we had to lay by again one day. That day my father and Brother Morley met us, and anybody that has been in like circumstances can understand how happy we were. I do not know how we happened to be separated from the rest of the company. Whatever suffering and privation my mother had to endure she never murmured or complained, but rejoiced that she was counted worthy to endure tribulation for the gospel’s sake. She felt that she had enlisted in a good cause and she looked forward to the happy time that had been promised to the Saints. Her religion compensated her for all the hardships she had to endure.


Well we again started for Independence and when we arrived at that place we were so jammed and packed in the wagon, by the load shifting, that we could hardly pull ourselves out. I remember that when I went to get out of the wagon I could not stir until some of the load was removed. My father rented a log room of Lilburn W. Boggs, the same that was afterwards governor and took an active part in driving the Saints from their homes.


The next winter, houses to rent being scarce, father took a widow and four children into that room we were in, making twelve or thirteen in the family, to sit by one fire and do all the work. Now don’t think for a moment that we were crowded or that we children quarreled; perhaps we did, though I don’t remember. We stayed here until father built a small log house of his own, one room on the first floor and one upstairs, and a cellar. This house was on the corner of the temple lot, or quite near it—about one-half a mile from the public square of Independence. About the first thing the Saints did, after providing shelter for their families was to start a school for the children.


The first school I remember attending was in Jackson County. It was in a log cabin and taught by Miss Nancy Carl. One day the schoolhouse was surrounded by a tribe of Indians. The door and windows were filled with Indian’s faces and every crack where the chinking had fallen out, we could see Indian eyes. Our teacher went to the door and talked with the chief, but the scholars were as quiet as mice. We were not as used to seeing Indians in those days as children are now. Well, everything was different from the home we had left and all seemed so strange in our new home, plenty of Indians and Negroes, and the white folks were so different in their customs and manner of speaking. It was “I reckon,” and “a right smart chance.” Instead of carrying things in their hands, they would “tote” them on their heads; large bundles and baskets, churns, piggins of milk and piggins of water, all toted on their heads. Little children were carried or toted astraddle one hip and women were going barefooted in warm weather, and little boys from two to ten years old were running the streets with nothing on but a shirt. Everything seemed to be after the style of the “backwoods man.” When they washed, instead of rubbing the clothes on a washboard, they would “battle” them, that is, they would wet the clothes in strong soap suds, and then lay them on a smooth board or log, if it was outdoors, and then beat them with a smooth stick, large at one end and small at the other, called the “battle stick.”


Their dresses were more for comfort than for looks. I remember a kind woman gave mother one of her day caps. It was made of large figured light calico. It had a frill around the front and neck. Perhaps you think she did not wear it, but she did though. She was among “Romans” or Missourians, and she thought it no harm to do as they did when it suited her comfort and convenience.


The brethren began to build houses and gather around them the comforts of life. In building their houses they would have “raisings.” After the logs were hauled and prepared, then all the men in the neighborhood would turn out and lay them up. Raisings with the men were something like the old-fashioned quilting was with the women. We read in the Prophet’s Joseph’s history of one in Kaw township where he helped the Coalsville Branch raise their first house, the logs being carried by twelve men in honor of the twelve tribes of Israel. Some of the houses were built very neatly, the logs being hewn on the outside and inside, and the corners sawed off smooth, and for a log house they looked very respectable. But the Saints were not to be permitted to enjoy their homes long.


I think it was in 1832 [1833] that the mob began to make threats and commit depredations by night by breaking windows and shooting into the houses of the Saints, sometimes using abusive language. Father had a large stack of hay in his yard back of his house. One night the mob set it on fire. It made a tremendous blaze. In this manner the mob kept annoying the Saints through the summer. The mob was holding meetings and forming resolutions to drive or destroy the “Mormons” and as they said in one of their preambles “peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must.” I suppose they meant by that if the Mormons would hold still while the mob heaped upon them all manner of abuse, they would do it peaceably, but if they resisted, they would do it by force. There was considerable excitement at times, not knowing what the mob might do. The brethren would gather nights into our house for protection. They had the room below and the families were upstairs. The men were armed and twice guns went off accidentally, the ball lodged once in the stairway and once it went through the head of the bed. The brethren would pray all together, not as one man, but as many. They did not understand the order of prayer then as we do now.


Children had heard so much about the mob that the very word was a perfect terror to them. They would often cry out in their sleep and scream, “the mob is coming, the mob is coming.”


In the summer of 1833, my youngest brother was born. When he was about three weeks old, mother sent me with Harriet to the spring for water, when I looked back and saw the house surrounded by an armed mob. We remained at the spring until they had gone. Then we got our water and went up to the house. They had taken father (George Simpson was their leader) up to Independence. We did not know what they were going to do with him; it might be kill him, as they had threatened. He had been put in prison once or twice before. After he had been gone awhile I was standing by the window looking the way the mob had gone, thinking of father, when I saw two men coming towards the house. One I knew. It was Albert Jackson, a young man. He was carrying a hat, coat, and vest. The other I thought was an Indian, and as they were coming right to the house, I was so frightened that I ran upstairs. When they came in, it was our dear father who had been tarred and feathered, giving him the appearance of an Indian. (Charles Allen was also tarred and feathered the same day.) They had done their work well for they had covered him with tar from head to foot except his face and the inside of his hands. I suppose hundreds witnessed the outrage. I have heard one woman affirm that she saw a bright light encircle his head while the mob was tarring him. I very well remember the clothes he had on when he went away. They were dark blue. I remember blankets were hung up around the fireplace to screen him while the tar was being scraped from him.


I think it was the same day that the store was broken open and the goods scattered in the street. The printing office was also demolished and the press, type and papers scattered over the ground. Brother [W. W.] Phelps’ family lived in part of the same building. They were turned out of doors and their furniture broken and things scattered in the street. These are my father’s own words, “I was taken from my home by a mob, for about half mile, to the courthouse on the public square in Independence; and then and there surrounded by hundreds of the mob; I was stripped of my hat, coat and vest and daubed with tar from head to foot, and then a quantity of feathers put upon me; and all this because I would not agree to leave the country, my home where I had lived two years. Before tarring and feathering me, I was permitted to speak. I told them that the Saints had to suffer persecution in all ages of the world, that I had done nothing which ought to offend anyone; that if they abused me, they would abuse an innocent person; that I was willing to suffer for the sake of Christ, but to leave the country, I was not then willing to do. By this time the multitude made so much noise that I could not be heard. Some were cursing and swearing saying, ‘Call upon your Jesus, etc.’ Others were equally noisy in trying to still the rest, that they might be enabled to hear what I was saying, until after I had spoken. I knew not what they intended to do with me, whether to kill me, whip me, or what else I knew not. I bore my abuse with such resignation and meekness that it appeared to astound the multitude, who permitted me to retire in silence, many looking very solemn, their sympathies having been touched as I thought. As for myself, I was so filled with the spirit and love of God that I had no hatred towards my persecutors, or anyone else.”


After my father had been tarred and feathered, a man raised a whip to finish him by thrashing him when another man, more human, laid hold of his arm saying he had done enough. They then treated Charles Allen the same. Others were brought up to be served in the same way, or whipped, but for some cause the mob ceased operations, and adjourned until Tuesday, the 23rd. Elder Gilbert, the storekeeper, agreed to close, and that may have been the reason why the work of destruction was suddenly stopped for two days. In the course of these days, wicked, outrageous and unlawful proceedings, many solemn realities of human degradations, as well as thrilling incidents were presented to the Saints.


An armed and well-organized mob in a government professing to be governed by law with the Lieutenant-governor (Lilburn W. Boggs) the second officer in the state calmly looking on and secretly aiding every movement, said to the Saints, “You now know what our Jackson boys can do, and you must leave the country,” etc. And when Bishop Partridge, who was without guides, and Elder Charles Allen walked off, amid the horrid yells of an infuriated mob, coated like some unnamed, unknown biped; and one of the sisters cried aloud, “While you who have done this must suffer the vengeance of God, they having endured persecution can rejoice for henceforth, for them is laid up a crown, eternal in heaven.” Surely there was a time of awful reflection, that man, unrestrained like the brute beast, may torment the body, but God in return will punish the soul.


While the destruction of the printing office and store were going on, two young girls, nieces of A. S. Gilbert had run out of the house and hid in the corner of the fence and were watching the mob, and when they saw them bring a table piled full of papers and set it in the middle of the street and heard them say, “Here is the book of revelations of the damned Mormons;” they watched their opportunity when the mob returned to the house, they ran and gathered up as many of the papers as they could hold in their arms and ran into the cornfield and hid. The mob soon discovered them running with the papers and followed them but could not find them. The cornfields there were so very large and cornstalks grew so high that they were almost like young forests and it is an easy matter for a person to get lost in one of them. These two girls had run so far that they were lost, but after a while succeeded in finding their way out. They went to an old shanty where they found the family of Brother Phelps trying to make themselves a little comfortable. Sister Phelps took the revelations and hid them in her bed. This is how a few of the revelations were preserved. The names of these girls were Mary E. and Caroline Rollins. I remember most of the circumstances that transpired at that time but was to young to remember the particulars well enough to tell them. I was about nine years old and had been baptized (in a creek not far from Independence) by John Corrill.


After the mob had ceased yelling and had retired and while evening was spreading her dark mantel over the unblushing scenery as if to hide it from the gaze of day, men, women, and children who had been driven or frightened from their homes by the yells and threats of the mob, began to return from their hiding places in thickets and corn fields, wood and groves, and view with heavy hearts the scenery of desolation and woe. And while they mourned over fallen man, they rejoiced with joy unspeakable that they were accounted worthy to suffer in the glorious cause of their Divine Master. There lay the printing office, a heap of ruins. Elder Phelps’ furniture was strewed over the ground as common plunder, the revelations, book works, papers and press in the hands of the mob, as the booty of highway robbers.


There was Bishop Partridge in the midst of his family, with a few of his friends, endeavoring to scrape off the tar which from eating his flesh seemed to have been prepared with lime pearlash, acid or some flesh-eating commodity, to destroy him. And there was Charles Allen in the same awful condition. As the heart sickens at the recital, how much more at the picture! More than once those people in this boasted land of liberty were brought into jeopardy, and threatened with expulsion or death because they wished to worship God according to the revelations of heaven, the constitution of their country, and the dictates of their own conscience. O liberty, now art thou fallen, Alas! Clergymen where is thy charity? In the smoke that ascendeth up forever and ever.