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By Gary Ford 2005
Page Prologue……………………………………………………………………………………. iii Chapter 1. Birth, Beginnings, and Background………………………………………………… 1 2. Joining with the Latter-day Saints…………………………………………………. 4 3. General Lott and the Missouri Conflict……………………………………………. 8 4. Superintendent of Joseph Smith’s Nauvoo Farm………………………………….. 14 5. Camp Leader on the Iowa Trail……………………………………………………. 28 6. High Councilor at the Missouri River……………………………………………… 30 7. Captain Lott and the Trek West……………………………………………………. 41 8. Senator Lott in the Territory of Deseret…………………………………………… 49 Timeline of the Life of Cornelius P. Lott………………………………………………….. 54 Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………….. 58
I wrote a thesis for Brigham Young University on Cornelius P. Lott and his role in caring for the livestock at Winter Quarters and the importance of that work. Every time a person would ask me what I was writing on, I had to explain who Cornelius P. Lott was. Unfortunately, the most well known story of Lott has to do with his conflict with Mary Fielding Smith while crossing the plains, which does not put him into a very favorable light. The account came from Joseph F. Smith, remembering back to the trek when he was nine-years-old. When I was telling a descendant of Joseph F. Smith about Cornelius P. Lott and my thesis, she smiled and said, “Oh yes, he’s considered a villain in my family!” In spite of that reputation, here was a man who worked closely with and was loved by Joseph Smith. He later developed a close relationship with Brigham Young as well. He very much gave his life for the gospel of Jesus Christ. This work is not to debate Lott’s character, but rather to tell the story and allow the reader to come to know the man. I am one of Lott’s descendants and hope that many others of his descendants will be able to read this come to appreciate the life of our great-great-great grandfather. Sincerely,
Gary Stan Ford
Birth, Beginnings, and Background
The Lott Family A native of New York City, Cornelius Peter Lott was born on September 22, 1798, and baptized five days later in the Reformed Dutch Church as an only child to Pieter Lott and Mary Jane Smiley Lott.1 Cornelius’s daughter wrote, “His parents taught him to be fair and honest in his dealings with others, and he in turn taught his own children the same principles when they came along.” She further explained that he “was taught to work with his hands, and taught also that hard work helps to build a strong character. He learned at an early age to be obedient.”2 Cornelius P. Lott came from a religious family that actively supported the Reformed Dutch Church. His grandfather, Cornelius Lott, born in New Jersey in 1738, set an example of religiosity and patriotism for his posterity. In 1766, grandfather Lott joined part of seventy heads of families of the Dutch settlers in the Millstone Valley of New Jersey to petition for the building of a new church. Records indicate that in December of that year, said Lott donated ten pounds and ten shillings for the building itself and an additional fifteen pounds to the “Consistory of the Church.” Further, grandfather Lott continued to support the church for the next number of years and was listed as one of the trustees for the farm where the Millstone Church had been built in 1774 and had also donated fifteen pounds for the last payment on the parsonage on March 6, 1777.3 In addition to his contributions to the Dutch Reformed Church, said Lott supported the cause of freedom for the American colonies as he served as First Lieutenant during the Revolutionary War from 1779 to1783. After the war, Lieutenant Lott became part of a committee to solicit help in order to rebuild the Millstone Church that had been ruined during battle.4 The man died in Millstone, New Jersey, in 1816, after a life of service toward church, country, and fellow men. His legacy certainly had an impact on the life of his family, including his grandson, who received his grandfather’s name. Cornelius Lott the Farmer Raised in New York and Pennsylvania, Cornelius P. Lott “learned to love animals and took great pride in them. He also loved the soil and liked to farm.”5 According to his daughter, farming was “the kind of work he loved and was best suited for.”6 As far as his physical
See A. V. Phillips, The Lott Family in America (Trenton, New Jersey: Traver’s Book Store, 1942), 36. Alzina Lucinda Lott Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” TMs (Lehi, Utah: by Martha Joella Lott Baum, [before 1910]), 1. 3 See Phillips, The Lott Family in America, 32. 4 See Phillips, The Lott Family in America, 33. 5 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 1. All citations appear as found in the original text. 6 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 11.
appearance as a young man, “He had black eyes and black hair.”7 Joseph Smith III, the Prophet Joseph Smith’s son, would later describe Cornelius as “a very strong man of sturdy build and medium height” and that he had “a fine, very high-pitched voice. . .”8
Figure 1 Sketch of Cornelius P. Lott
Marriage and the Beginning of a Family On April 27, 1823, Cornelius, age 24, married the seventeen-year-old Permelia Darrow at Bridgewater, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Their daughter, Alzina, described Permelia as “quiet, well mannered and well educated, and young. She came from a very prominent family, being the daughter of Joseph Darrow and Mary Ward Darrow, and the granddaughter of General Ward, 1728-1800, and Captain Darrow. They were both of Revolutionary War fame.”9 Children blessed their home: Melissa was born in 1824 at Tuckhannock, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania; John Smiley in 1826 at Springville in Luzerne County; Mary Elizabeth in 1827 at Susquehanna, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania; Almira Henrietta in 1829 at Bridgewater in Susquehanna County; Permelia Jane in 1832 at Bridgewater; Alzina Lucinda in 1834 at Tuckhannock; and Harriet Amanda in 1836 at Tuckhannock.10 During those years, the Lotts “were desperately poor and
“History of Cornelius Peter Lott,” TMs, submitted 26 June 2001, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, Salt Lake City. Joseph Smith III, The Memoirs of President Joseph Smith III (1832-1932), ed. Richard P. Howard (Independence, Missouri: Herald Publishing House, 1979), 22. 9 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 1-2. George Darrow fought in “the Battle of Bemington Heights, Stillwater and Saratoga, and in the campaign of Quebec” (Rhea Vance Lott, Descendants of Cornelius Peter Lott, 1798-1972 (Providence, Utah: by the author, 1972), 72). 10 See Lott, Descendants of Cornelius Peter Lott, 24, 29, 37, 42, 50, and 60. Also see Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 2. The United States 1830 Census shows that Cornelius and his family lived in Bridgewater, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, with a household of six (see United States 1830 Census: Bridgewater Township, Susquehanna Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, p. 79, available from Ancestry.com; Internet).
constantly on the move.”11 This compelled Cornelius to take employment wherever he was able.12
Alzina Lucinda Lott Willes, “Personal History of Alzina Lucinda Lott Willes,” TMs (Lehi, Utah: by Martha Joella Lott Baum, [before 1910]), 1. 12 See Alzina Lucinda Lott Willes, “Personal History of Permelia Darrow Lott,” TMs (Lehi, Utah: by Martha Joella Lott Baum, [before 1910]), 1.
Joining with the Latter-day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints In 1834 the Lott family was baptized and became members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.13 Alzina noted that the restored church was what her parents “had been searching for” and both of them joined at the same time. She wrote, “They gained a strong testimony that never left them.”14 Cornelius and Permelia were the only two of their respective families to unite with the Church. After being baptized, Cornelius and his family moved to Kirtland, Ohio. This they did “to be near the body of the Saints and obey council.”15 Disfellowshipped In the beginnings of 1836, the Kirtland High Council disfellowshipped Cornelius with three others for having insulted Cyrus Smalling of the First Quorum of the Seventy and for speaking wrongfully against the Church. The notice read, “We the high council of Kirtland, hereby inform Jacob Shibley, Daniel Brownwell, Peter Brownwell and Cornelius P. Lott, that we have withdrawn our fellowship from them for disobeying the commandments of the Lord, until they make satisfaction. JOHN SMITH, Ch’n, CYRUS SMALLING, Clerk.”16 A few months later, only four days before the Kirtland Temple was to be dedicated, Cornelius acknowledged his faults and petitioned for reinstatement. His statement reads in the following manner:
Agreeable to the decision of the High Council of Kirtland, held March 8th, 1836: wherein Cornelius P. Lott and others were put on suspense; this is to all whom it may concern, that I confess the decision of the
There is a discrepancy regarding when the Lott family joined the Church. One family record asserted, “Cornelius and Permelia became interested in the Mormon Church in 1836 and they were baptized on December 13, 1836” (Ferril A. Losee, Jana K. Hardman, and Lyman A. Losee, The Losee Family History: Ancestors and Descendants of Lyman Peter Losee and Mary Ann Peterson [Provo, Utah: n.p., 2000], 17). Alzina, on the other hand, claimed that her family had joining the Church in 1837 (See Willes, “Personal History of Alzina Lucinda Lott Willes,” 1). However, the Messenger and Advocate made mention of Cornelius as a Church member in Kirtland as early as February 1836 (See Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, ed. Oliver Cowdery [Kirtland, Ohio: Oliver Cowdery & Co., 1836], 2:271). Others have asserted that the Lotts joined the Church as early as 1833 (See Lyndon Cook and Milton Backman, eds., Kirtland Elders’ Quorum Records [Provo, Utah: Grandin Book Co., 1985], biographical appendix; Dale Hatch, Hatch Family Pioneer Stories & History, 2 vols. [Idaho Falls, Idaho: Snake River Valley Publisher, 2002], 2:124; Todd Compton, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith [Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1997], 596; and Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and T. Jeffery Cottle, Old Mormon Nauvoo and Southeastern Iowa: Historic Photographs and Guide [Santa Ana, California: Fieldbrook Productions, 1991], 176). Hosea Stout, who joined the Church in 1838, noted that Cornelius Lott had “been a member of this church nearly from its rise” (Hosea Stout, On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844-1861, ed. Juanita Brooks [Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1964], 373). Permelia Lott’s obituary in 1882 is the best source concerning the Lotts’ baptism, stating that she “joined the Church with her husband in 1834” (“Died,” Deseret News [Salt Lake City], January 18, 1882, p. 816). 14 Willes, “Personal History of Permelia Darrow Lott,” 1. 15 Willes, “Personal History of Permelia Darrow Lott,” 1. 16 See Messenger and Advocate, 2:271. Also see Messenger and Advocate, 2:336.
Council to be just and righteous; and that we were in a wrong spirit and were led to say many things that were wrong concerning brother Cyrus Smalling and the church, for which I ask the forgiveness of those who, in so doing, I have injured; and I will endeavor to live hereafter by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. CORNELIUS P. LOTT. Kirtland, May 23d, 1836.17
His repentance must have been considered sincere, as he received his elder’s license shortly thereafter on August 6, 1836.18 In addition, the following year, he attended an Elders Quorum meeting in the Kirtland Temple where Church leaders anointed him and others with oil on March 31, 1837.19 Patriarchal Blessing Some time during the Kirtland period of Church history, Lott received a patriarchal blessing under the hands of Joseph Smith, Sr., who then served as the Church patriarch. The blessing was as follows:
Brother Lott in the name of Jesus Christ I lay my hands on thy head I ask my heavenly father to shew thee the corruption of thy heart, of the world, and of the branch of the Church where thou does reside. Thou shalt have power to defend the cause of truth and nothing shall stay thee. Thou shalt see the Savior if faithful, and angels shall minister unto thee. And I seal upon thee the fathers blessing even long life, and eternal life. Thou shalt receive the blessings of the Priesthood in all its fullness, also thou shalt bless thy family and teach them righteousness. Thou shalt stand when the heavens shall rend and thou shalt have the riches of the Earth, and of eternity. This for thee and for thy posterity to all generations. Thou art sealed up unto eternal life even so, Amen.20
The Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company Towards the end of 1836, the Prophet Joseph Smith began to organize the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company and shortly thereafter invited the Latter-day Saints to invest stock in the enterprise.21 On January 2, 1837, Cornelius complied with the Prophet’s invitation
Messenger and Advocate, 2:336. Cook and Backman, eds., Kirtland Elders’ Quorum Records, biographical appendix. Also see Messenger and Advocate, 382. In the early days of the Church, leaders gave licenses to all priesthood holders and missionaries so they could verify their authority among those whom they served in their travels (see Donald Q. Cannon, “Licensing in the Early Church,” BYU Studies 22 (Fall 1982): 96-106. 19 Cook and Backman, eds., Kirtland Elders’ Quorum Records, 28. Concerning the anointing with oil, two modern scholars explained, “In January 1836, two months before the dedication ceremonies, Joseph Smith introduced among the leaders an ordinance of washing and anointing with oil, which symbolized the spirituality and cleanliness they desired” (James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992], 109). 20 Joseph Smith, Sr., Blessing of Cornelius P. Lott who was born in the city of New York, A.D. 1798, (vol. 2, p. 85), Historical Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City. 21 See The History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., ed. B.H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1980), 2:473. Joseph Smith and other leaders of the Church organized the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company in Kirtland, Ohio, in a time when the Church faced financial hardship. Unsuccessful in obtaining a bank charter from the state of Ohio, Church leaders established a joint stock association, appointing the Prophet as treasurer, to fill the purpose of banking in Kirtland. Through possible acts of embezzlement from one of the tellers, Warren Parrish, coupled with a nation-wide financial crash that occurred in 1837, hitting Ohio especially hard, the Kirtland Safety Society failed. The failure caused a great deal of bitter feelings against Joseph Smith, both
and became a member of said society.22 Alzina explained her father’s motivation for being involved in public affairs, saying that he was “always ready and willing to do what he could to help build a better community and help protect the interests of the Saints.”23 Lott pledged to invest six shares of stock at fifty dollars each, making a total of three hundred dollars. However, he only paid a fraction of that amount, with two dollars on January 5, 1837, and fifty cents on March 10, 1837.24 Cornelius was part of the two-thirds of the members of the Kirtland Safety Society that were present at the special meeting held on January 2, 1837. On the occasion Sidney Rigdon was called to the chair and Warren Parrish became the secretary. Rigdon explained that the object of the meeting “was – 1st, to annul the old constitution’ which was adopted by the society, on the second day of November, 1836; which was, on motion by the unanimous voice of the meeting, annulled. 2nd, to adopt articles of agreement, by which the ‘Kirtland Safety Society’ is to be governed.”25 The Kirtland Apostasy of 1837 Though 1837 proved to be a year of strife and apostasy in Kirtland, in great part because of the Panic of 1837 and the demise of the Kirtland Safety Society. Nothing indicates that Cornelius wavered in his dedication to Joseph Smith during that time. Due to the persecutions, the Prophet and other Church leaders fled to Missouri by January of 1838. The Lott family also had to suffer through the difficult times. Alzina Lott Willes commented, “We were actually driven from our homes by the mobs who were in themselves obsessed by hatred for us. . . . We only had a few things in our possession when my family loaded our wagons. These possessions consisted of bedding, clothing and food. The rest of our possessions had to be left as plunder to the mobs who were to take possession of our homes.”26 Alzina reported that from Kirtland, the Lotts made the journey to Missouri, where they settled near Haun’s Mill.27 She asserted that her family left Ohio with the Kirtland Camp.28
from in and out of the Church (see Scott H. Partridge, “The Failure of the Kirtland Safety Society,” BYU Studies 12 [Summer 1972]: 437-454). 22 See Messenger and Advocate, 3:475-477. 23 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 2. 24 See Stock ledger and index [microform], 1837-1838, 213, from the “Mormon Collection” of the Chicago Historical Society, 1837-1838, available at L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Also during this time, Lott made some purchases at the Newel K. Whitney Store. On February 17, 1837, he bought shirt buttons for 21¢, nails for 13¢, and snuff for 6¢. A couple of weeks later, on March 7, he bought15 ¾ yards of calico for $3.30 and paid $3.50 to someone named Cheney. Four days after, on March 11, he paid an order of $1.25 for Cheney (Newel K. Whitney Store ledger). 25 History of the Church, 2:470. 26 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 2-3. 27 See Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 4. Also see Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 596. Note: Alzina asserted that her family left Ohio with the Kirtland Camp (See “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 4). The Kirtland Camp consisted of a group of over 500 Saints, many of which were the poor, frail, or elderly, who departed from Kirtland on July 6, 1838, and arrived at Adam-ondi-Ahman in Missouri on October 4, 1838, under the direction of the seven presidents of the Seventy. The purpose of the Camp was to aid those who need the assistance to make the long trek from Ohio to Missouri (See Gordon Orville Hill, “A History of Kirtland Camp: Its Initial Purpose and Notable Accomplishments” [Masters thesis, Brigham Young University, 1975], 131-132). However, Alzina, who would have only been four years old at the time, may have been in error since the Lott family does not appear on the list of those who subscribed to be part of the camp (See History of the Church, 3:91-93). Furthermore, Cornelius himself could not have been part of the Kirtland Camp since journal entries began to make mention of him
in Missouri as early as July 1838, the time that the Kirtland Camp had just begun to set off (See Elders' Journal of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Vol. 1, Number 4, Far West, Missouri, August 1838, 60. L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Also see Elijah Averett, “The Averett Narrative,” Transcription of the Averett Family ledger book, TMs, comp. Murray Averett (1972), L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah). 28 See Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 4.
General Lott and the Missouri Conflict
The Far West Temple Shortly after Joseph Smith’s arrival to Far West, Missouri, on April 26, 1838, the Lord charged the Latter-day Saints, “Therefore I command you to build a house unto me, for the gathering together of my saints, that they may worship me. And let there be a beginning of this work, and a foundation, and preparatory work, this following summer; And let the beginning be made on the fourth day of July next; and from that time forth let my people labor diligently to build a house unto my name;…” (Doctrine and Covenants 115:8-10). Cornelius Lott responded to the Lord’s call to build the temple. Elijah Averett noted, “On July 4, 1838 the foundation of the temple was laid by Brother Joseph Smith and his Council. Elisha Averett, my brother, Demick Huntington, and Cornelius Lot quarried rock for the temple, Elisha, being chief mason laying the foundation that day.”1 The Latter-day Saints put on an Independence Day celebration in Far West on July 4, 1838. As part of the festivities, they held a procession, which led to the temple lot where they performed a ceremony for laying the cornerstones for the Far West Temple. Among the officers at the celebration were Joseph Smith, President of the day; Hyrum Smith, Vice President; Sidney Ridgon, Orator; Reynolds Cahoon, Marshal of the day; Colonel George Hinkle and Major Jefferson Hunt, Assistant Marshals; George W. Robinson, Colonel for the day; Philo Dibble, Lieutenant Colonel; Seymour Brunson, Major; Reed Peck, as Adjutant; Jared Carter, Sampson Avard, and Cornelius P. Lott, Generals.2 Of that occasion, Joseph Smith wrote, “The day was spent in celebrating the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, and also by the Saints making a ‘Declaration of Independence’ from all mobs and persecutions which have been inflicted upon them, time after time, until they could bear it no longer; having been driven by ruthless mobs and enemies of truth from their homes, and having had their property confiscated, their lives exposed, and their all jeopardized by such barbarous conduct.”3 The War Against Mobocracy In spite of Joseph Smith’s “Declaration of Independence” against mobocracy, the events of August 6, 1838 proved to worsen the Latter-day Saints’ circumstances in the state of Missouri. That day, being election day in Gallatin, Daviess county, turned sour as “Mormon” settlers were refused their rights to vote. One Missourian, being drunk, commenced to bully the Latter-day Saints, resulting in a riot. Rumors of the incident from both the Latter-day Saints and the
Averett, “The Averett Narrative,” 1. See Elders' Journal of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Vol. 1, Number 4, Far West, Missouri, August 1838, 60. L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 3 History of The Church, 3:41.
Missourians caused the rift between the two to escalate dramatically. In honor of the men who fought for their rights in Gallatin, Joseph Smith exclaimed, “Blessed be the memory of those few brethren who contended so strenuously for their constitutional rights and religious freedom, against such an overwhelming force of desperadoes!”4 On August 8, two days after the Gallatin incident, between nine and ten o’clock in the morning, Adam Black, a justice of the peace in Daviess county, recalled that Cornelius Lott joined Colonel Lyman Wight with about 17 others, to call on him with the request that he sign an agreement to protect the Latter-day Saints’ rights. According to Black, he declined to sign the agreement and tried to persuade Wight to go through the proper court system, but that Wight refused because the government would not defend the Latter-day Saints, as had been the case when they were driven from their homes in Jackson County. Black claimed that Wight made a threat that the “Mormons” would take matters into their own hands. As the men mounted their horses, he said to them, “Gentlemen, I don't want you to go off and say that I refused to issue you civil process.” In response to his petition, “Cornelius Lott turned on his horse, and one or two of the others saying, ‘You black son of a _______, don't you impeach us with lying.’” Black replied that “he was not impeaching them with lying, but only requesting them not to lie,” to which Lott responded, “you mob, you black son of a _______, shut your head, or I'll cut it off, or take your head.” Finally, Black ordered them to leave, telling them he did not feel he should be insulted in that way on his own property.5 The Latter-day Saints, of course, have their own account of the incident to which Adam Black referred. They recorded that a committee of five or six men, including Sampson Avard, Lyman Wight, and Cornelius Lott, were appointed to call upon Black in order to promote peace. Upon visiting Black, the men found him to be unfriendly towards them and “refused to give them any satisfaction. This, tended to confirm the report, that he was head of a mob – it created some uneasiness.”6 The Latter-day Saint account indicates that there was quite a large company of their men that were near Adam Black’s house throughout that day of August 8 because of a spring where they could drink and also give water to their horses.7 In this company were about 154 men, including Cornelius Lott.8 Not long after the first visit, Sampson Avard, “and a number of others, went into his house and again interrogated him respecting the mob, and some angry words passed between them.” At this point, Black requested that he speak with Joseph Smith.9 In his own account, Black contended that the men surrounded his house and blocked up the doors. He reported that Sampson Avard approached him threatening to “cut him down, or
History of The Church, 3:59. See Document containing the correspondence, orders, &c. in relation to the disturbances with the Mormons and the evidence given before the Hon. Austin A. King, Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit of the State of Missouri, at the courthouse in Richmond, in a criminal court of inquiry, begun November 12, 1838, on the trial of Joseph Smith, Jr., and others for high treason and other crimes against the state (Fayette, Missouri: Boon’s Lick Democrat, 1841), 161. L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 6 An Appeal to the American People: Being an Account of the Persecutions of the Church of Latter Day Saints; and of the Barbarities Inflicted on them by the Inhabitants of the State of Missouri, 2d ed., (Cincinnati: Shepard & Stearns, 1840), 19. 7 See An Appeal to the American People, 19. 8 See Journal History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, August 28, 1838, Historical Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City. 9 See An Appeal to the American People, 20.
shoot him down” if he did not sign the affidavit. Shortly thereafter, Black met Joseph Smith and “a considerable argument ensued between them about the propriety of witness signing the obligation.” Black still refused to sign and called on the “Mormons” to be Christians and after some discussion, they agreed to allow him to write his own affidavit to support the United States Constitution, stating that he was not affiliated with a mob. Some of the men insisted that he add that he would not molest the Latter-day Saints any further inasmuch that they would not molest him. Once he signed it, they appeared to be satisfied.10 Joseph Smith’s account of the transaction greatly differs. He recorded that they “politely requested him to sign an agreement, but being jealous, he would not sign it, but said he would write one himself to our satisfaction and sign it, which he did,…”11 According to the Prophet, Black then wrote a document stating that he would uphold the Constitution and would not molest the Latter-day Saints so long as they would not molest him.12 Twenty days later, Adam Black signed another document before William Dryden, also a justice of the peace in Daviess county, which accused the “Mormons” of carrying weapons and threatening his life if he didn’t cooperate.13 Concerning Black’s statement of August 28, Joseph Smith observed that the document showed Black “in his true light – a detestable, unprincipled mobocrat and perjured man.”14 Throughout the next couple of months, antipathy between the Missourians and the Latterday Saints escalated beyond threats and into warfare. The Latter-day Saints maintained that they were simply protecting their freedoms.15 Benjamin F. Johnson recalled, “Patriotic spirit never enthused man than that which animated our leaders in this just defense of our rights.”16 Certainly influenced by the Church leaders and possibly moved to action in remembrance of his grandfather’s participation in the Revolutionary War, Cornelius P. Lott played an active role in the Latter-day Saints’ cause of defense against the Missouri mobs. Hosea Stout recalled that Lott “was commander of the Horse in Far-West at the time of the surrender in which corps I served.”17 At a quarterly conference on October 6, 1838, Lott volunteered to serve a mission in Kentucky along with James Carroll, James Galliher, Luman A. Shurtliff, James Dana, Ahaz Cook, Isaac Decker, and Alpheus Gifford. President Thomas B. Marsh instructed them “to go in the spirit of meekness, and preach repentance.”18 Yet, due to the conflict with the Missourians, the men were unable to serve the mission at that time.19 In fact, later that month, Cornelius Lott and his family were present during the tragic massacre at Haun’s Mill that occurred on October
See Document containing the correspondence, orders, &c, 161-162. History of the Church, 3:59. 12 See History of the Church, 3:59-60. 13 See History of the Church, 3:64-65. 14 Journal History, August 28, 1838. Also see History of the Church, 3:64-65. 15 See Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, revised and enhanced edition, ed. Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 217-218. 16 Benjamin F. Johnson, My Life’s Review: Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Johnson (Provo, Utah: Grandin Book Company, 1997), 33. 17 Stout, On the Mormon Frontier, 373. 18 History of the Church, 3:153-155. 19 See Luman Andros Shurtliff, Biographical Sketch of the Life of Luman Andros Shurtliff (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 1956), 38.
30, 1838. Alzina Lott, only four years old at the time, later recorded of the event, “Our parents played down the occurrance when we were young.”20 Benjamin F. Johnson, reported that shortly after the tragedy at Haun’s Mill, Cornelius Lott led a company of about twenty men on horseback, of which Johnson was part, to the home of one Taylor on the Grand River, who supposedly held arms and ammunition for anti-Mormon mobs. The Taylors denied the accusation, but were compelled to allow the men to search their place. Lott’s company informed them that if they found no weapons, they would leave the place in peace, but if any were located, they would burn them out. Unable to find the weaponry within the houses and barns, Lott ordered his men to search the cornfields, wherein they indeed found the arms and ammunition. The Latter-day Saint band, though allowing the residents to quickly take from their home what they could carry, then plundered and burned the Taylor’s house. Benjamin Johnson noted, “And here I might say there was almost a trial of my faith in my pity for our enemies, even those who were plotting our destruction. . . . My sympathies were drawn towards the women & children, but I would in no degree let them deter me from my duty.”21 Not long after the incident, Benjamin Johnson was arrested and incarcerated. When taken before the justice of the peace, who happened to be Adam Black, Johnson was pressed to disclose the name of the man who had led the company to the Taylor’s. Johnson replied that he “had heard the man called Capt. Cornelius, it being Cornelius P. Lot.”22 In connection with all the events of the summer and autumn of 1838, Cornelius Lott, along with Joseph Smith, Lyman Wight, and James Worthington, was indicted for larceny by the Daviess Circuit Court in 1841.23 The record of March 18, 1841 stated, “And Cornelius P. Lott, was indicted at the same term of our said court, for horse stealing; and Jos. Smith, jr., was indicted at the same term of our said court for receiving stolen goods.”24 The Danites Because of Lott’s participation in these events, questions arise as to his affiliation with Sampson Avard and the Danite band.25 Reed Peck, once a Danite himself, testified of the following:
A short time after Cowdrey and the Whitmers left Far West, (some time in June,) George W. Robertson and Philo Dibble invited me to a Danite meeting. I went; and the only speaker was Dr. Avard. . . . The Danite oath was administered to about 30 or 40 persons at this meeting. Philo Dibble told me who the head officers of the Danite band were: that George W. Robertson was colonel, that he (Dibble) was lieutenant
Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 4. Haun’s Mill was a small mill on Shoal Creek, owned by a Latter-day Saint named Jacob Haun. The small settlement consisted of some thirty families. On October 30, 1838, between 200 and 250 Missouri men, under the command of Colonel Thomas Jennings, brutally bombarded the settlement and murdered eighteen Latter-day Saints (See Allen and Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 137). For a more comprehensive study on the subject, see Alma R. Blair, “The Haun’s Mill Massacre,” BYU Studies 13 (Fall 1972), 62-67. Also see Alexander L. Baugh, A Call to Arms: The 1838 Mormon Defense of Northern Missouri (Provo, Utah: Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History: BYU Studies, 2000), 115-127. 21 Johnson, My Life’s Review, 29-30. 22 Johnson, My Life’s Review, 35. 23 Document containing the correspondence, orders, &c., 155. Note: In the original, Lott’s name was mistakenly written as “Cornelius D. Lott.” 24 Document containing the correspondence, orders, &c., 157. 25 Todd Compton asserts that Lott “was actively involved in Danite activities during the troubles” (Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 597). Also see D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1994), 524.
colonel, and Seymour Brunson major, and that I was chosen adjutant. After that, I had a talk with George W. Robertson and Philo Dibble together, in which I was informed who the officers were, as above; and further, that Jared Carter was captain general of the band, Cornelius P. Lott major general, and Sampson Avard brigadier general. This is as I recollect it.26
Historians today vary in their views of the Danites. Some wrote, “It is probable, however, that, except for those who followed Avard, the group was not as secret or insidious as some critics have argued. Rather, it was formed to protect the Saints and to perform community service for them.”27 In addition, many members of the Church at the time, including Joseph Smith, believed that they should fight in defense of their families and religious freedom. 28 A contemporary of Lott named Luman Shurtliff explained how he viewed the Danites, saying, “About this time I was invited to unite with a society called the Danite society. It was got up for our personal defense, also for the protection of our families, property and religion. Signs and pass words were given by which members could know the other wherever they met, night or day.”29 Many scholars maintain a distinction between the Danites and the Mormon militia troops.30 The History of the Church states, “And here let it be distinctly understood, that these companies of tens and fifties got up by Avard, were altogether separate and distinct from those companies of tens and fifties organized by the brethren for self defense, in case of an attack from the mob.”31 The History of the Church further attests that Avard had formed “a secret combination by which he might rise a mighty conqueror, at the expense and the overthrow of the Church.”32 Avard held secret meetings daily and bound his followers by oaths. He deceived many into believing that leaders of the Church had given him authority as a spokesman to build the kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth through violent acts of robbery and plunder. However, in one such secret meeting, where Avard lectured on how to organize their attacks, the Danite officers revolted against him saying, “such proceedings would be in open violation of the laws of our country, would be robbing our fellow citizens of their rights, and are not according to the language and doctrine of Christ, or of the Church of Latter-day Saints.”33 One historian argued that Joseph Smith knew and at least tacitly approved of the Danite activities during the summer of 1838, but that he was unaware of Avard’s secret teachings until after the fact.34
Document Showing the Testimony Given Before the Judge of the Fifth Judicial District of the State of Missouri, on the Trial of Joseph Smith, Jr., and others, for High Treason and Other Crimes Against that State. (Washington, D. C.: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1841), 17. Note: Peck identified one of the participants as George W. Robertson. This is undoubtedly a mistake, since other testimonials of the same document identified the man as George W. Robinson. 27 Allen and Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 130-131. 28 See Allen and Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 132. Also see History of the Church, 3:67-68. 29 Shurtliff, Biographical Sketch of the Life of Luman Andros Shurtliff, 33. 30 See Baugh, A Call to Arms, 41; Stephen C. LeSueur, The 1838 Mormon War In Missouri [Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 1987], 125-125; and Leland H. Gentry, “A History of the Latter-day Saints in Northern Missouri from 1836-1839” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1964], 326-330). 31 History of the Church, 3:181-182. 32 History of the Church, 3:179. 33 History of the Church, 3:181. 34 See Baugh, A Call to Arms, 42-43.
The Church excommunicated Sampson Avard on March 17, 1839, under the direction of Brigham Young in Quincy, Illinois, after the Latter-day Saints left Missouri.35 Lott must have been among those who rejected Avard’s doctrine since he was not excommunicated, but rather went on to follow the Church leaders to Illinois and serve as a loyal member of the Church. The Latter-day Saints’ Evacuation from Missouri Once the Prophet had been imprisoned and the Far West Latter-day Saints had fallen to the Missourians, it became apparent to Brigham Young and the Quorum of the Twelve that they would have to evacuate the state. Hence, on January 26, 1839, Young formed the Committee on Removal in order to expedite the Latter-day Saints’ departure.36 Cornelius Lott had already left four days earlier for Quincy, Illinois, in the company of Samuel Bent, Alvey Keller, Henry Jacobs, and Jonathan Dunham.37 In addition to the difficulty of the times, Cornelius’s wife Permelia delivered another son, Joseph Darrow Lott, on February 18, 1839.38
See History of the Church, 3:284. See History of the Church, 3:249-250. 37 See George Henry Abbott Harris, Autobiography, 1854-1892, AMs, 352-354, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, available from http:// catalog.lib.byu.edu/ uhtbin/cgisirsi/cj3J8DidBu/103470006/9; Internet. 38 There is a discrepancy concerning the whereabouts of the Lott family in 1839. Most family group sheets record that Joseph Darrow Lott was born in Kirtland, Ohio. In fact, one historian has asserted that the Lotts returned to Kirtland, Ohio, after leaving Missouri, and then made their way to Nauvoo by 1842 (See Cook and Backman, eds., Kirtland Elders’ Quorum Record 1836-1841, Biographical Index). One family history even claimed, “The Lott family was still in Kirtland in 1839 when their eighth child, Joseph Darrow Lott was born” (The Losee Family History: Ancestors and Descendants of Lyman Peter Losee and Mary Ann Peterson, 17). The latter claim is quite unlikely since plenty of the foregoing evidence supports the fact that Cornelius Lott lived in Missouri at least from July 1838 to January 1839. In addition, Alzina made no mention of her family returning to Ohio for any period of time.
Superintendent of Joseph Smith’s Nauvoo Farm
The Lotts in Pike County, Illinois Little is recorded about the next four years of Cornelius’s life, except that after leaving Missouri, he and his family settled in Pike County, Illinois.1 It is not clear exactly when Lott fulfilled the mission he had volunteered to serve in October 1838, yet his daughter recorded that he did indeed serve a mission.2 Luman A. Shurtliff, who was one of the other men that volunteered to serve in Kentucky later wrote, “I felt anxious to fulfill my covenant with the Lord, that was to preach the Gospel as long as I lived. I had volunteered in Far West but the war prevented one, so I knew it was my duty to go when I could.”3 Shurtliff went on to serve a mission first to Ohio and eventually to Kentucky.4 Since Lott’s circumstances paralleled those of Shurtliff, it is probable that Cornelius went to preach the gospel some time during 1839 to 1842. One record indicates that, as an elder, Lott signed a certificate, along with Elder Eleazer Miller, for a member of the Church named Richard Woolsey of the Vandalia Branch in Illinois on October 12, 1840.5 Nauvoo Upon moving to Nauvoo in 1842, Cornelius built a temporary shelter made of boards for his family. Alzina later wrote that shortly after their arrival, “a terrible snow storm arose one night and we awoke to find ourselves in a desperate plight. Our house was full of snow. Everything was soaking wet, our bedding, our clothing, everything! Someone came and rescued us, by sheltering us first in a wagon and then taking us to brother Joseph’s house in the city.” She continued, “We stayed in his home for about two weeks eating at his table and enjoying his hospitality. Words cannot express our gratitude to him for his kindness to us at such a crucial time and the kindness shown also, by his wife, Emma and their children.”6 That same year, the Lotts added yet another son to the family. Peter Lyman Lott was born November 2, 1842, making a total of nine children for Cornelius and Permelia. Superintendent of Joseph Smith’s Farm The relationship between the Smiths and the Lotts continued as Cornelius became employed as the superintendent of the Prophet’s farm just outside of Nauvoo about three miles.7
See Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 6 and Lott, Descendants of Cornelius Peter Lott, 7. Also see United States 1840 Census: Pike County, Illinois, p. 46, available from Ancestry.com, Internet. 2 See Willes, “Personal History of Permelia Darrow Lott,” 2. Also see Lott, Descendants of Cornelius Peter Lott, 19. 3 Shurtliff, Biographical Sketch of the Life of Luman Andros Shurtliff, 38. 4 See Shurtliff, Biographical Sketch of the Life of Luman Andros Shurtliff, 62. 5 Available from http://www.wrightsonline.net/tng/ getperson.php?personID=I4860&tree=WS; Internet. 6 Willes, “Personal History of Alzina Lucinda Lott Willes,” 1. 7 See Willes, “Personal History of Alzina Lucinda Lott Willes,” 1.
The Lotts lived in an eight-room house that had four rooms on the main level and four upstairs. They also had a “barn suitably equipped with all the essentials.”8 The home still stands today on the north side of the road across from the old Nauvoo cemetery. Alzina reminisced, “The homestead was an admiration of the Prophet and a special attraction to the many travelers passing through. . .”9
Figure 2 Lott's home on Joseph Smith's farm outside of Nauvoo.
The Lotts enjoyed a close relationship with the Prophet Joseph Smith. Alzina related, “Almost every day the Prophet came to visit the farm, resulting in constant association with our family. We were always happy to see him and nearly always ran to meet him when we saw him coming.” She further attested that “there was a warm neighborly feeling” between her family and the Smiths.10 Of this relationship, John R. Murdock, who lived with the Lotts as a hired hand, later reminisced that Joseph Smith “often brought his family to the farm, for his family and Father Lott were on terms of great intimacy. We all passionately loved and revered our Prophet. He used to relate to us many instances of his life.”11 Joseph Smith’s oldest living son, Joseph III, recollected these visits as well. He noted, “This Cornelius P. Lott and family occupied the farm east of town until the break-up occurred. I became well acquainted with them all – his older son John, the daughters Melissa, Mary, Martha, and Alzina, and the little son Peter. It was always pleasant to visit their place where everything was interesting to me and everybody busy and kind.”12
Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 6. Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 6. 10 See Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 6. 11 Tanner, A Biographical Sketch of John Riggs Murdock, (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1909), 54-55. 12 Smith, The Memoirs of President Joseph Smith III, 22.
Concerning the effect that the Prophet’s visits had on her family, Alzina related, “The Prophet visited our home often and our Testimony of the Gospel grew and became stronger after each visit, and we became more humble.”13 In his own records, Joseph Smith mentioned making trips out to the farm frequently. There he visited with the family, dined with them, and worked.14 Cornelius’s daughter elaborated on such events saying, “The farm was a haven of rest and refuge for the Prophet so he spent as much time there as he possibly could. He enjoyed doing hard, physical labor, working side by side with my father, Cornelius, hoeing potatoes or any kind of work that needed to be done.” She continued:
It was in the fields that Cornelius’ testimony was strengthened that Joseph was truly a man of God. The two of them had many long talks together while they worked. Cornelius said many times that when a person was with him, he would have to know that brother Joseph was a true Prophet of God because you could feel his wonderful influence when you were with him, as he was so humble, yet so dynamic. Cornelius, my father, gained a Testimony, from this association that never left him. 15
In addition to the Prophet’s visits to the farm, a couple of the Lott girls found employment working for Emma Smith. Mary Elizabeth lived with the Smith’s and took care of their children.16 Lott’s oldest daughter, Melissa, also “chaperoned the smaller and younger children of the Smiths and at times made her home with the Prophet’s wife, Emma.”17Alzina also had a unique relationship with Joseph Smith. She recounted how both she and the Prophet had a “mutual deep interest in his beautiful horse named Charles, a coal black, magnificent animal that was an especial favorite of his.” She explained that the Prophet would go out to the farm to ride the horse. On occasion, when Charlie was out of hearing range as the Prophet called for him, Alzina “would go to the pasture, catch him, put the bridle on him and mount him with the aid of a fence. Then I would ride Old Charlie up to the house which seemed to please Brother Joseph very much. As I was the only one besides himself who could catch the horse, it made him notice me more that way than he would have done otherwise.”18 On one occasion, Joseph Smith, being pursued by a mob, came to the farm while Permelia Lott was alone, and asked for her to hide him. She parted the straw in the mattress and had the Prophet climb in, after which she covered him with straw and proceeded to make the bed as normal. When the mob arrived and observed that only one bed was made, they inquired whether that was the first bed she had made that morning. She replied, “Yes, do you want me to take it apart so you can see it?” Embarrassed, they declined and went on to search the other
Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 7. See Journal History, June 6, 1842, June 16, 1842, January 27, 1843; History of the Church 5:26, 58, 66, 82, 182, 307, 358, 369, 500, 511, 515, 523,525, 527; 6:35, 46, 356, 427; and The Papers of Joseph Smith, Volume 2: Journal, 1832-1842, ed. Dean C. Jessee (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992), 389. 15 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 7. 16 See Lott, Descendants of Cornelius Peter Lott, 38. Also see The Losee Family History: Ancestors and Descendants of Lyman Peter Losee and Mary Ann Peterson, 3. 17 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,”6. 18 Willes, “Personal History of Alzina Lucinda Lott Willes,” 1. Also see Lott, Descendants of Cornelius Peter Lott, 61.
rooms. After finding no one in the house, they gave up and left, whereupon the Prophet came from his hiding place.19 The Nauvoo Legion Joseph Smith III related that shortly after the organization of the Nauvoo Legion, his father, the Prophet, declared that the first man to provide a pair of epaulets would be named the captain of Joseph’s personal bodyguard. Joseph III recalled:
On the morning when the guard of sixty men reported for drill, this old man Lott came in and, in a very quiet, unostentatious manner called Father to one side and showed him a pair of epaulets, which had been his to wear in some company elsewhere…. He seemed rather shamefaced about them, declaring he did not wish to be captain and was not qualified to act in that capacity. Father insisted that he should take the office and retain it for a time at least. This he did, but did not wear the epaulets very long and kindly gave the gaudy trifles to me.20
Besides supervising the Smith farm and being involved with the Nauvoo Legion, Cornelius “showed great interest and helped physically with all the important projects in building the City of Nauvoo. He labored faithfully in helping to erect their most beloved structure, the Nauvoo Temple.”21 The Wrestle with the Prophet Cornelius also had a rather jovial side to his personality that was demonstrated in an amusing wrestling match with the Prophet. Joseph Smith III recounted how his father was once in the Red Brick store in Nauvoo, after having beat a number of men in wrestling matches, when Lott entered carrying a blacksnake whip. He recalled, “Hardly had he entered when Father said in a jolly tone, ‘Here! I have thrown down pretty nearly everybody about the place except Brother Lott, and I believe I can throw him down too.’ The old man stopped, swung his whip under his left arm and said, in his high, piping voice, ‘Well, my boy, if you’ll take it catch-ascatch-can you can’t throw old man Lott!’” After agreeing upon the match, the men went outside where Joseph Smith and Cornelius Lott “ran together several times,” yet the Prophet was unable to beat him. Joseph III noted that after a while, “He gave up his efforts to throw the sturdy old fellow and much good-natured banter at his expense was indulged in as he gave up the struggle. In the midst of the jibes I heard the old man pipe out again, ‘I told you, my boy, that you couldn’t throw old man Lott!’”22
See Willes, “Personal History of Permelia Darrow Lott,” 1-2. Also see Lott, Descendants of Cornelius Peter Lott, 18. This event likely occurred sometime following the false accusation against Orrin Porter Rockwell and Joseph Smith in attempting to murder Lilburn Boggs in 1842. In the late summer and early autumn of that year, Joseph Smith went into hiding around the Nauvoo area (see Allen and Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 194; Church History in the Fulness of Times, 267; and History of the Church, 5:157). 20 Smith, The Memoirs of President Joseph Smith III, 22. 21 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 6. 22 Smith, The Memoirs of President Joseph Smith III, 22. Lott frequented the Red Brick Store on various occasions. On Saturday, June 25, 1842, he bought 27 lbs. of bacon for $1.35 and paid an order to William Parker of $3.25. On Thursday, June 30, he purchased a steel spade for $1.50. On Saturday, July 2, he bought 36 yards of cotton fabric for $5.76 and a set of knives and forks for $2.00 (Roger D. Launius and F. Mark McKiernan, Joseph Smith, Jr.’s Red Brick Store [Macomb, Illinois: Western Illinois University, 1985], 53, 57, and 73).
Plural Marriage Plural marriage was one of the doctrines that Joseph Smith carefully guarded.23 Joseph Smith recorded an explanation of the doctrine on July 12, 1843, now found in Doctrine and Covenants section 132. A couple of weeks prior to that, on June 29, 1843, Eliza R. Snow, an alleged plural wife to Joseph Smith, penned, “Thurs. 29th. Took a ride to br. Lot’s in company with Mrs. Whitney, Mrs Durfee & Mrs. Holmes. Before we returned, it was announced that a messenger had arrived bringing the joyful intelligence that the prophet would arrive in a few hours.”24 Of this journal entry, one scholar asserted, “Most likely their destination was actually Joseph Smith’s farm, where Cornelius Lott was foreman. That this is Eliza’s wedding anniversary, and that her companions were all involved in plural marriage by this date, suggests the chief topic of discussion.”25 Only three months after this meeting at the Lott home, on September 20, 1843, Cornelius and Permelia Lott gave their nineteen-year-old daughter, Melissa, to Joseph Smith as a plural wife, Hyrum Smith solemnizing the ceremony.26 Though the Prophet’s record does not mention the event, it does confirm that both he and his brother Hyrum visited the farm that day.27 After the marriage ceremony, Melissa “spent most of the following winter with his family, going to school in the so-called brick store. The Prophet’s children, Joseph, Fredrick, and Alexander, went to the same school under the immediate watchful care of Melissa.”28 Since the Prophet was not practicing plural marriage openly, he exhibited some confidence in Cornelius to
James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard noted, “Because of the controversial nature of this doctrine the Prophet initially taught it to only a few of his closest associates. Historical evidence suggests that he understood the principle as early as 1831 and may have begun taking plural wives as early as 1835. The first documented plural marriage came in 1841 when Louisa Beaman was sealed to the Prophet by Joseph Bates Noble. Then, after the Twelve returned from Great Britain, Joseph took them and other close associates aside individually and taught them the doctrine.” They further explained, “Though several prominent men were sealed to additional wives, the practice remained confidential. Nevertheless the widening circle of persons taken into the Prophet’s confidence and the increasing numbers participating in the practice led to rumors and speculations” (Allen and Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 185-186). 24 Eliza R. Snow, Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, ed. Maureen Ursenbach Beecher (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1995), 78. 25 Snow, Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 272. Another scholar made a similar assertion saying that the four women “rode to Cornelius Lott’s farm in the country, perhaps to counsel teenaged Melissa Lott on her upcoming marriage to Joseph” (Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 548). 26 See Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 6; Johnson, My Life’s Review, 86; and Smith, The Memoirs of President Joseph Smith III, 245. Nearly sixteen years later, on 20 May 1869, Melissa Lott Willes signed an affidavit before notary public James Jade with this statement: “Be it remembered that on this 20 th Day of May AC 1869 personally appeared before me James Jade a Notary Public in and for County of Salt Lake, Territory of Utah, Melissa Lott Willes, who was by me sworn in due form of law and upon her oath, said that on the 20 day of September AD 1843 at the City of Nauvoo, County of Hanncock, State of Illinois she was married and sealed to Joseph Smith, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints by Hyrum Smith, Presiding Patriarch of said church according to the laws of the same, regulating marriage, in the presence of Cornelius Peter Lott and Permelia Lott” (As cited in Lott, Descendants of Cornelius Peter Lott, 27-28. Also see Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., Blood Atonement and the Origin of Plural Marriage: A Discussion [Grantsville, Utah: Archive Publishers, 2000], 72). Furthermore, in the same year that Melissa signed the affidavit, Apostle George A. Smith confirmed that the Prophet did indeed get married to Melissa Lott (See Journal History, October 9, 1869, 7). 27 See History of the Church, 6:35. 28 Lott, Descendants of Cornelius Peter Lott, 26-27. Joseph Smith III recounted an interview he had with Melissa years later, wherein he claimed that Melissa confessed to never having lived with his father as a wife (see Smith, The Memoirs of President Joseph Smith III, 245).
approach him on such a matter. Also, on September 20, 1843, the same day of the marriage between Joseph Smith and Melissa Lott, Cornelius and Permelia Lott were married for time and eternity “By Presadent Hyrum Smith with seal of Presadent Joseph Smith.”29 Other Sacred Ordinances During this time, Lott became a recipient of other ordinances as well. On December 9, 1843, Wilford Woodruff recorded that Cornelius Lott, William W. Phelps, and Levi Richards all “Received their Anointing” in the Red Brick Store.30 With reference to the occasion, Brigham Young simply noted that those three brethren “received ordinances.”31 Less than two weeks later, on December 23, Cornelius’s wife Permelia, along with Phebe Woodruff, Bathsheba Smith, Catherine Spencer, and Sally Phelps, “received their Anointing” as well.32 It was on these occasions that both Cornelius and Permelia Lott first received the temple endowment.33 Toward the end of Joseph Smith’s life, he spent a great deal of time teaching the Latterday Saints and revealing significant doctrines. The Lotts benefited from the Prophet’s sermons. In fact, on the afternoon of January 7, 1844, he rode out to the farm, “& Preached at Bro. Lots. also D Spencer & Reynolds Cahoon preached.”34 Cornelius’s daughter recalled that her parents “had many visits with Prophet when he taught them the Gospel and their souls were full of peace toward all men even though their journey with the Saints was filled with sorrow as well as joy.”35 On February 4, 1844, Cornelius and Permelia received an additional ordinance. Of that event, the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote, “Evening at the prayer meeting [at the] Brick Store. Cornelius P. Lot and wife present [and anointed].”36 Wilford Woodruff noted, “I met with the
Lott family Bible (Historical Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City), microfilm. 30 See Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9 vols., ed. Scott G. Kenney (Midvale, Utah: Signature Books, 19811984), 2:331. This anointing differed from that which Lott had received in the Kirtland Temple in March 1837. The anointing Lott received in the Red Brick Store is the equivalent to the endowment that Latter-day Saints may receive today in their sacred temples. Joseph Smith administered the first of these endowments to a very select few in May 1842. Such an endowment consists of special washings, anointings, sacred covenant making, and instructions regarding God’s plan of salvation for mankind (see Allen and Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 184). For further detail of the ceremony, see Leonard, Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise, 258-260. From the time Joseph Smith first administered the endowment in 1842 to the time of his death in 1844, only a few small groups received the ordinance (see Allen and Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 184). In fact, not until after Brigham Young dedicated the council chamber in the attic of the Nauvoo Temple toward the end of 1845 did the endowment ceremony become available to the general adult Church membership (see Leonard, Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise, 261). 31 Young, Manuscript History of Brigham Young 1801-1844, ed. Elden Jay Watson (Salt Lake City: Smith Secretarial Service, 1968), 156. 32 See Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 2:332. 33 See Endowments of the living, 1845-1846, AMs (Family History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, Salt Lake City; Salt Lake City: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1958, 1974), microfilm. Also see Holzapfel and Cottle, Old Mormon Nauvoo and Southeastern Iowa: Historic Photographs and Guide, 176. 34 Joseph Smith, The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph, Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, eds. (Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1980), 317. Also see History of the Church, 6:171 and Journal History, January 7, 1844. 35 See Willes, “Personal History of Permelia Darrow Lott,” 2. 36 Joseph Smith, An American Prophet’s Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith, ed. Scott H. Faulring (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1989), 445. Concerning the brackets, Faulring explained, “Inadvertent omissions of words or letters are enclosed in square brackets (for example, curse [them] and). . . . In some instances, particularly in the Nauvoo Journals, I have relied on Joseph Smith’s History of The Church to complete sentences in
quorum in the evening Br & Sister Lott was present we had a good time in prayer. Br Joseph gave us good instruction in meekness & humility. The revelator John remarks was quoted to in the evening Concerning the 144000 of the tribes of Israel. /Cornelius P. Lott & wife Received their 2d Anointing & sealing.”37 For two or three weeks prior to Cornelius and Permelia receiving this ordinance, a number of the Quorum of the Twelve and their wives also received the same from the Prophet. Brigham Young recorded that among those receiving the ordinance included his wife Mary Ann and himself, Heber C. and Vilate Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, Willard and Jenetta Richards, and Wilford and Phebe Woodruff.38 The Council of Fifty Another privilege granted to Lott was his appointment to an organization known as the Council of Fifty.39 Information on Lott’s involvement in this council is scant, yet being part of the council certainly afforded him another opportunity to associate with and be recognized by Church leaders. In fact, in 1845, because of Lott’s participation in the Council of Fifty, Brigham Young assigned Lott and others to each select and organize a company to lead in the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo.40 The Road to Carthage Lott joined with the group that accompanied the Prophet on horseback to Carthage on May 27, 1844. Joseph Smith noted, “Monday, 27. – About 8 a.m., I started on horseback with a few friends, went by the Temple, and pursued my course towards Carthage, thinking it best for
which the meaning would have otherwise been completely lost to most readers. These editorial insertions are enclosed in brackets and are not italicized” (xix). 37 Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 2:348. Regarding the practice known as “second anointing,” little is written, presumably due to the sacredness of the ordinance. The ordinance has also been known as “the crowning ordinance of the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood” (Leonard, Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise, 260). Joseph Smith explained that this ordinance confirmed promises that faithful men and women could become kings and queens and priests and priestesses (see Leonard, Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise, 261 and Andrew F. Ehat, “‘It Seems Like Heaven Began on Earth’: Joseph Smith and the Constitution of the Kingdom of God,” BYU Studies 20 [Spring 1980]: 255-256). 38 See Brigham Young, Journal of Brigham, comp. Leland R. Nelson (Provo, Utah: Council Press, 1980), 67. 39 Though records indicate that Joseph Smith had the idea of organizing the Council of Fifty as early as April 7, 1842, the temporal establishment of the council did not take place for another two years on March 10, 11, and 13, 1844. The council served under the direction of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. The main purpose of the Council of Fifty was to symbolize the political kingdom that would be established during Christ’s reign on earth during the Millennium. It also served to protect the Church in civil and religious liberties (see Leonard, Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise, 326). In spite of these purposes, one researcher asserted that the Council of Fifty seldom functioned and was, for the most part, a symbolic formality when it did function (see D. Michael Quinn, “The Council of Fifty and Its Members, 1844 to 1945,” BYU Studies 20 [Winter 1980]: 163197). However, another historian contested that the council played an active role in seeking redress for the Latterday Saints’ losses in Missouri, defusing political tension in Hancock County, and assisting in the Mormon exodus (see Leonard, Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise, 327). William Clayton identified Lott as part of the council on April 18, 1844, when the council was declared full (see Clayton, An Intimate Chronicle, 129-131). 40 See Clayton, An Intimate Chronicle, 184. Others with the same appointment included Samuel Bent, Alpheus Cutler, Reynolds Cahoon, Shadrach Roundy, Joseph Fielding, Peter Haws, Daniel Spencer, and Isaac Morley. Lott later filled that assignment and led a company of pioneers across Iowa (See Journal History, July 5, 1846. Also see Samuel Hollister Rogers, Diaries and Reminiscences of Samuel Hollister Rogers, 1841-1886, AMs [photocopy], box 1, file 4, p. 74, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah).
me to meet my enemies before the Circuit Court, and have the indictments against me investigated. After I had passed my farm on the prairie, most of the following brethren joined my company, and the remainder soon after my arrival in Carthage – viz: . . .Cornelius P. Lott, Jonathan Dunham, and other friends.”41 On this trip to Carthage, Joseph Smith learned of a conspiracy against his life. The Prophet, being charged for perjury, confessed being anxious for the trial to take place, yet as it turned out, the trial was postponed and the men returned home to Nauvoo that evening.42 One month later, Joseph Smith prepared to leave Nauvoo for the last time to make his way to Carthage, Illinois. Upon leaving Nauvoo on June 24, 1844, the Prophet passed his farm where Cornelius Lott lived and worked. Here the Prophet bade his last farewell to Cornelius and his family.43 Alzina Lott recalled, “He bade a fond goodbye to the sorrowing employees, whom he had so often visited and learned to love and gave encouragement to.”44 He then paused and looked upon the farm for a long time. After having left it, he turned and looked back several times, which caused some of the company to make comments about his action. The Prophet wistfully replied, “If some of you had such a farm, and knew you would not see it any more, you would want to take a good look at it for the last time.”45 Three days later, on June 27, a mob murdered the Prophet and his brother Hyrum in the Carthage Jail. Of Joseph’s death, Alzina Lott later mourned that her family had “not only lost a personal friend of long standing but my sister, Melissa had lost a husband of just nine months.”46 Alzina further recalled having seen the Prophet’s body after the martyrdom.47 The day before the church membership was to meet in order to listen to both Sidney Rigdon and Brigham Young address them on the issue of church leadership, William Clayton noted, “Wednesday 7th. This morning the Committee and myself went out to Lots to take the invoice of Joseph property.” After the Prophet’s death, Cornelius Lott continued working the farm. In regards to the meeting that would take place the following day, William Clayton added, “Brother [Alpheus] Cutler said that in the council yesterday he drew out from [William] Marks that Sidney Rigdon was to be president and Marks Patriarch.”48 The Leadership of Brigham Young Cornelius and his family attended the meeting on August 8, 1844, when President Brigham Young was transfigured before the members of the Church, thus being established as
History of the Church, 6:412. Those listed in the group included Aaron Johnson, John Bernhisel, Joseph W. Coolidge, John Hatfield, Orrin P. Rockwell, Lorenzo Rockwell, William Walker, Harrison Sagers, Hyrum Smith, John P. Greene, William Richards, Shadrach Roundy, Theodore Turley, Jedediah M. Grant, John Lytle, Joseph B. Noble, Edward Bonney, Lucien Woodworth, Cornelius P. Lott, and Jonathan Dunham. 42 See History of the Church, 6:413-414. 43 See Tanner, A Biographical Sketch of John Riggs Murdock, 65. Also see The Losee Family History: Ancestors and Descendants of Lyman Peter Losee and Mary Ann Peterson, 19. 44 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 7. 45 As cited in B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1965), 2:250. 46 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 8. 47 See Willes, “Personal History of Alzina Lucinda Lott Willes,” 3. 48 Clayton, An Intimate Chronicle, 141.
the new leader in the minds of many of the Latter-day Saints, including the Lotts.49 Only an eight year-old at the time, Alzina Lott recalled witnessing the event. She recounted, “Among others, Brigham Young addressed the great multitude of Saints assembled there. He spoke with great power. When he first arose to speak, we were greatly astonished. President Young stood transfigured before us and we beheld the Prophet, Joseph Smith and heard his voice as plainly as ever we did in attendance. I turned to Mama and said ‘Mama, I thought the Prophet was dead?’ Mama answered and said ‘He is, Alzina, and this is the way our Heavenly Father has told us who is to be our next leader and Prophet.”50 In another account, Alzina confessed, “I was very much disappointed the next time I saw him that he bore no resemblance to the Prophet at all. Of course, I was deeply impressed by this incident.”51 The Lotts remained faithful to President Young and the Quorum of the Twelve over the course of their lives. On September 30, 1844, Permelia Lott gave birth to their tenth child, Cornelius Carlos Lott. Sadly, the boy only survived little over three months and died on January 6, 1845, this being the first death in the Cornelius Lott family. After the martyrdom of the Prophet, Cornelius Lott continued a close association with the leaders of the Church and, on January 22, he received his ordination to the office of High Priest.52 During this time, the practice of plural marriage continued without general public knowledge. Lott resumed his support of the doctrine, though by this time he had not as yet taken to him another wife. On January 9, 1845, William Clayton took Diantha Farr as a plural wife, though she may have had some reservations about the arrangement. On January 14, Cornelius accompanied Clayton to the Farr residence where Clayton conversed with his new bride Diantha. He indicated that he “was with her until 12½ and accomplished the desire of my heart by gaining victory over her feelings. May the Lord bless her until her cup shall run over and her heart be as pure as gold.”53 For the first time since the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, the Council of Fifty met again on February 4, 1845 at the Seventies Hall in Nauvoo. At the meeting, the men reorganized the council and unanimously sustained Brigham Young as successor to Joseph Smith as the standing chairman. Cornelius Lott was not present at this meeting, however, along with others who were absent, he was sustained as a member of the new organization. Other former members, such as apostates Sidney Rigdon, William Marks, Lyman Wight, and others were dropped from the council. Because of those that had been removed and those who had died, the council then consisted of forty individuals. However, they planned to fill the council again to fifty at a future date.54 Almost a month later, March 1, 1845, the Council of Fifty met again at the Seventies Hall. Of the meeting, President Young recorded, “We decided to send nine brethren westward, to
See Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 8. For further information on the subject of Brigham Young’s transfiguration, see Lynne Watkins Jorgensen and BYU Studies Staff, “The Mantle of the Prophet Joseph Passes to Brother Brigham: A Collective Spiritual Witness,” BYU Studies 36 (Winter 1996-1997): 125-204. 50 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 8. 51 Willes, “Personal History of Alzina Lucinda Lott Willes,” 3. Also see Lott, Descendants of Cornelius Peter Lott, 62. 52 See Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 8. Also see High Priests of Nauvoo and Early Salt Lake City, comp. Nauvoo Restoration from early Salt Lake Records, 78, Church Archives, Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City. 53 Clayton, An Intimate Chronicle, 155-156. 54 See Clayton, An Intimate Chronicle, 157.
search out a location for the saints; many eloquent speeches were made on the present position of affairs: had a good meeting, which continued all day.”55 On September 9, the Council of Fifty, or “General Council,” met and resolved to send a company of 1500 men to travel to the Salt Lake Valley to gather information.56 Second Patriarchal Blessing On March 20, 1845, Lott received a second patriarchal blessing under the hands of John Smith, Joseph Smith’s uncle and the Church patriarch after the death of Hyrum Smith. Albert Carrington recorded the blessing:
Bro Cornelius I lay my hands upon thy head by the authority of the Priesthood, in the name of Jesus Christ, & seal upon thee a father’s blessing; thou art of the house of Joseph, through the loins of Ephraim, & lawfully entitled to the Holy Priesthood with all the powers & benefits which shall be revealed unto thee in the house of the Lord for thou shalt receive thine endowment with thy companion, & all the mysteries of the kingdom of God shall be manifested unto thee; thou art called to officiate as a counselor in the house of Israel, & to travel & preach inasmuch as it is thought wisdom according to the counsel of the servants of the Lord, thou shalt have wisdom to counsel in righteousness & thy voice shall be obeyed; thy name shall be had in everlasting remembrance among the Saints for good; thy posterity shall continue to increase to all eternity; thou shalt have an inheritance in Zion with the sons of Joseph, & possess it again in eternity; thou shalt also have great possessions, flocks & herds of evry kind & all kinds of the fruits of the Earth, which are desirable, for thou shalt be an husbandman in the house of Israel, have multitudes of Servants to do thy business, & they will delight to follow thy teaching; they days & years shall be according to thy faith, & inasmuch as this ungodly generation desire to exterminate the Saints, thou shalt live to see them all swept off from the face of the Earth, & the Earth inhabited by a righteous people & thou shalt be numbered with the 144,000, who are spoken of by John the Revelator to stand on Mt Zion in the last days, finaly thou shal 57 enjoy all the blessings & glories of the Redeemer’s kingdom forever & ever, amen.”
The Suitor James Monroe Cornelius’s oldest daughter, Melissa, now left a widow, became acquainted with the Smith family tutor, James Monroe. The young man made attempts to courting Melissa, before her father intervened. On May 29, 1845, Monroe wrote, “I arose at 5 ½, saddled Old Charley and went to Mr Lotts after Melissia, but her father would not let her come. He talks wonderfully snappish and crabbed, but I presume it is his way and I had not ought to mind it.”58 Mob Persecution Returned In the fall of 1845, mob activity against the Latter-day Saints once again increased. The mobs burned down numerous homes that belonged to the members of the Church. The sheriff of Hancock County, Jacob Backenstos, a friend to the Latter-day Saints, tried to stop the mobs’
History of the Church, 7:379. Also see Young, Journal of Brigham, 87. See History of the Church, 7:439. 57 John Smith, A Blessing by John Smith Patriarch upon the head of Cornelius P son of Peter & Jane Lott, born Septr 22d 1798 New York City, (vol. 9, p. 52, No. 166), Historical Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City. 58 Diary and Journal of James M. Monroe, AMs (Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City), microfilm, 132. Also found in the Illinois Historical Society. The original is at the Yale University Library, New Haven, Connecticut. See also Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 598-599. Also during this time, on May 21, 25, 30, June 14, and July 10, 1845, Lott bought several pairs of shoes from Jonathan H. Holmes (Jonathan Harriman Holmes, Account Book 1837-1863 [L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah]).
attacks. On September 16, 1845, the mobs chased the sheriff with intentions of murder. With the outlaws not far behind him, Backenstos met up with Latter-day Saint men, Orrin Porter Rockwell and John Redding, who asked the sheriff what the matter was about. Backenstos deputized the men and commanded the enemies to stop. When they did not, the sheriff ordered Rockwell to fire, which he did. One of the mob members, Frank Worrel fell off his horse from the gunshot, which proved to be fatal.59 The day after the incident, Cornelius Lott became involved in these events because of the strategic location of his homestead, being just three miles out of town on the road to Carthage. Hence, on September 17, Captain John Kay of the Fifth Regiment received the assignment “to guard near Lotts Farm – with orders to let no man except he prove himself a friend if a spy bring him into Town.”60 A few days later, on September 21, General Charles C. Rich recalled the regiment that was stationed near Lott’s home.61 Only three days later, on September 24, several of the Latter-day Saint men went to Carthage on arrest, including Daniel Spencer, Orson Spencer, Willard Richards, John Taylor, William W. Phelps, Charles C. Rich, Alpheus Cutler, Reynolds Cahoon, John Scott, Hosea Stout, Edward Hunter, and William Clayton. As it turned out, the men were discharged and began on their return journey to Nauvoo. On the way, they stopped at the home of Albert G. Fellow, whose house had been burned down to the ground along with some fifteen bushels of grain. “There was not a stick left of either house or barn; all that was left was the brick chimney and oven. Soon after leaving this scene of desolation, the brethren met Cornelius P. Lott with a letter from Newel K. Whitney, stating that a committee of seven men had arrived from Quincy, and that the governor had ordered five hundred men from Sangamon County to Hancock County.”62 One of those present, Hosea Stout, recorded, “When we had came about four or five miles from Carthage we met an express, Br. C. Lott, by which we were informed that a Committee of the Citizens of Quincy had arrived in Nauvoo ‘requesting us to communicate in writing our disposition and intention at this time, particularly with regard to moving to some place where the pecular organization of our church will not be likely to engender so much strife and contention as so unhapily exhists at this time in Hancock & some of the adjoining counties.’”63 Plans for the Exodus On the heels of these foregoing events, the Council of Fifty met again on September 30, 1845, to discuss plans for the Latter-day Saints’ exodus to the west. Samuel Bent, Alpheus Cutler, and Reynolds Cahoon presented lists of the families they had selected to be in their company of one hundred families for the trek. In addition, “Pres. Young also appointed S. Roundy, J. Fielding, C. P. Lott, P.Haws and Daniel Spencer to select and organize each a company. Isaac Morley has got his company about full.” While the meeting was in session, the council received a report that an army were just outside of Nauvoo. Brigham Young sent Charles C. Rich to surmise what it was the army wanted. Not long after, Rich returned and reported that some troops led by one General Hardin had arrived in Nauvoo, bringing with them a Judge
See History of the Church, 7:446-447. Stout, On The Mormon Frontier, 65-66. 61 See Stout, On The Mormon Frontier, 70. 62 Journal History, September 24, 1845, 2. 63 Stout, On The Mormon Frontier, 72.
Douglas, who had gone to John Taylor’s home to meet with the church leaders. President Young immediately closed the meeting and took the Twelve to Taylor’s house to meet the judge.64 The Nauvoo Temple Earlier, in 1841, the Lord had commanded the Church to build a temple in Nauvoo. He instructed, “Let the work of my temple, and all the works which I have appointed unto you, be continued on and not cease; and let your diligence, and your perseverance, and patience, and your works be redoubled, and you shall in nowise lose your reward, saith the Lord of hosts” (Doctrine and Covenants 127:4). In response to the Lord’s command, the Latter-day Saints continued building the temple in spite of the knowledge they had that they would soon leave the holy edifice behind. Records indicate that Cornelius Lott took part in building the temple as well, donating some fifty-seven and one-quarter days.65 By November 30, 1845, the attic story of the Nauvoo Temple was ready for dedication. Cornelius P. Lott joined with a select group where Brigham Young dedicated that story of the building.66 Of the special occasion, William Clayton, who also attended the meeting, wrote, “We then offered up the signs of the Holy Priesthood and repeated them to get them more perfect. I was requested to keep minutes. President offered up prayers and dedicated the Attic story, the male room and ourselves to God, and prayed that God would sustain and deliver from the hands of our enemies, his servants untill they have accomplished his will in this house.” John Taylor then sang “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief,” after which the company again offered up the signs and Heber C. Kimball prayed “that the Lord would hear & answer the prayers of his servant Brigham, break off the yoke of our enemies and inasmuch as they lay traps for the feet of his servants, that they may fall into them themselves and be destroyed, that God would bless his servant Joseph Young, heal his wife and bless his family, that God would bless and heal Elder Kimballs family and put the same blessings on all our families which he had asked for Joseph Young and himself.”67 Just a few days later, Heber C. Kimball listed Cornelius and Permelia among those who were “members of the Holy order of the Holy Priesthood having Received it in the Life time of Joseph and Hirum, the Prophets…” Those of that order attended a meeting in the temple on December 7, 1845. At that time Brigham Young gave the group a tour of the rooms, after which the men and women clothed at 1:30 p.m. The meeting began at two o’clock, with a prayer and a hymn, and the group was favored to hear instruction from Apostles John Taylor, Heber C. Kimball, and Orson Hyde. The meeting ended as the congregation partook of the sacramental bread and wine.68 President Kimball recorded, “…then Elder B. Young said, this quorum should
See Clayton, An Intimate Chronicle, 184. See Newel Kimball Whitney papers, AMs, comp. Hyrum L. Andrus, Chris Fuller, and Elizabeth E. McKenzie (L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah), box 3, folder 2, microfilm. 66 See History of the Church, 7:534. Also see Journal History, November 30, 1845. Among that group were the likes of “Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, Orson Hyde, George A. Smith and Amasa Lyman of the Quorum of the Twelve; also Newel K. Whitney and George Miller, Presiding Bishops; John Smith, Patriarch and President of the Stake, Joseph Young, President of the Seventies, Alpheus Cutler & R. Cahoon, Temple committee, Cornelius P. Lott, Levi Richards, Joseph C. Kingsbury, Orson Spencer, Wm. W. Phelps, Isaac Morley, Lucien Woodworth” (Young, Journal of Brigham, 109). 67 Clayton, An Intimate Chronicle, 192. 68 See Heber C. Kimball, Heber C. Kimball’s Journal, November 21, 1845 to January 7, 1846, 19, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.
meet here every Sabbath and partake of the sacrament.”69 Of that occasion, Brigham Young simply wrote, “I met with the Twelve and others in the Temple. We partook of the sacrament, exhorted each other and prayed.”70 Finally, on December 10, 1845, Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball commenced administering the ordinance of endowment at 4:25 p.m.71 Within the hour, at five o’clock, Isaac and Lucy Morley, Joseph Fielding, Joseph C. Kingsbury, and Cornelius P. Lott entered. 72 After the prayer, Lott left the temple and went home to Permelia in order to go through the endowment session the next day with her.73 Though he had previously received the endowment on December 9, 1843, he and his wife were again endowed in the Nauvoo Temple on December 11, 1845.74 Though Cornelius and Permelia Lott had been sealed together on September 20, 1843, by Hyrum Smith, they entered the Nauvoo Temple two and a half years later to be sealed again. President Brigham Young performed the ceremony at 1:50 p.m. on January 22, 1846, with John D. Lee and Phineas H. Young as witnesses.75 Lott Entered into Plural Marriage One hour before the sealing between Cornelius and Permelia took place, Cornelius stood in as a proxy for the Prophet Joseph Smith in being married to the fifty-four year old Elizabeth Davis Durfee for eternity, after which Cornelius entered plural marriage and was married to Elizabeth for time. President Young performed the ceremony and Franklin D. Richards and Phineas Young acted as witnesses.76 Elizabeth crossed the Iowa trail with Cornelius, but after arriving at Winter Quarters, she left both him and the Church and returned to Quincy, Illinois.77 That same day, January 22, 1846, Cornelius also entered into plural marriage with some other women with his wife’s consent.78 Brigham Young also officiated in these marriages. One of the women was Charity Dickinson, the sixty-nine year old mother of Apostles Parley P. and
As cited in Helen Mar Whitney, A Woman’s View: Helen Mar Whitney’s Reminiscences of Early Church History, ed. Jeni Broberg Holzapfel and Richard Neitzel Holzapfel (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997), 290. This “quorum” consisted of Brigham and Mary Ann Young, Heber C. and Vilate Kimball, Orson and Marinda Hyde, Parley P. and Mary Ann Pratt, John and Leonora Taylor, George A. and Bathsheba Smith, Willard Richards, John and Clarissa Smith, Alpheus and Lois Cutler, Reynolds and Thirza Cahoon, Newel K. and Elizabeth Whitney, Cornelius and Permelia Lott, Isaac and Lucy Morley, Orson and Catherine Spencer, William and Agnes Clayton, George and Mary Catherine Miller, Joseph Young, (Sister) Lambson, Levi Richards, Mary Fielding Smith, Joseph Fielding, William W. and Sally Phelps, Joseph Kingsbury, L. and Phebe Moodworth, and John Bernhisel (See Kimball, Heber C. Kimball’s Journal, November 21, 1845 to January 7, 1846, 17-18). 70 Young, Journal of Brigham, 110. 71 See Journal History, December 10, 1845. 72 See Young, Journal of Brigham, 112. 73 See Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 7. 74 See Journal History, December 11, 1845. Others that received the endowment with the Lotts on this occasion were Isaac and Lucy Morley, Orson and Catherine Spencer, Joseph Young, Alpheus and Lois Cutler, Reynolds and Thirza Cahoon, William and Ruth Clayton, Mercy R. Thompson, and Lucy Mack Smith (See History of the Church, 7:543-544). 75 See Nauvoo Sealings and Adoptions 1846-1857, Book A, 381-382, Special Collections, Family History Library,The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City. 76 See Nauvoo Sealings and Adoptions 1846-1857, Book A, 505-506. Note: Though the ceremony took place 22 January, it was not recorded for another couple of weeks on 7 February 1846. Also see Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 264. 77 See Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 265. 78 See Willes, “Personal History of Permelia Darrow Lott,” 2.
Orson Pratt. Her husband Jared Pratt died in Michigan in 1839. Charity’s marriage to Cornelius did not last long either, ending in divorce, and she died shortly thereafter in St. Joseph, Missouri, on May 20, 1849.79 The other was a young sixteen year-old girl named Rebecca Fausett.80 Alzina Lott explained, “She was a lovely young girl but she was still in-love with the man she had been engaged to, and wanted to be sealed for eternity to him, so her marriage to Papa did not last long. She left my father and went back to live with her parents. Their marriage and sealing was later dissolved. She had one son, who she named Isiah Barkdull Lott, but my father never did see him.”81 Isaiah was born November 12, 1846 at Winter Quarters in the back of a wagon.82 Another source claims that when Cornelius and Rebecca were married, the girl, who did not want to enter into plural marriage, understood that Lott was only standing as proxy for her deceased boyfriend, but as it turned out, Cornelius deceived her and did indeed get married to her.83 One other record corroborates that claim and indicates that Rebecca did not discover that she had married Cornelius until after the sealing had been done. However, the same source also attests that her father had given his consent for the union. Once they had told her what had transpired and that she had become a wife to Cornelius, she was devastated.84 Two weeks later, on February 7, Cornelius took another sixteen-year-old girl, Jane Rogers from Scotland, as his third plural wife. Heber C. Kimball officiated the marriage at 8:15 p.m. in the Nauvoo Temple. John D. Lee and J. W. Bell stood as witnesses to the ceremony.85 Records do not indicate that Cornelius had any children with Jane. After Cornelius’s death in 1850, she remarried a man with the last name of Randall in 1851 in Utah.86
Available at Familysearch.org, internet. See Nauvoo Sealings and Adoptions 1846-1857, Book A, 381-382. 81 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 8. Also see Lott, Descendants of Cornelius Peter Lott, 85. 82 See Lott, Descendants of Cornelius Peter Lott, 22-23. 83 See Susan Ward Easton-Black, comp. Membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1830-1838, 50 vols. (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1984-1988), 28: 472. 84 See Lott, Descendants of Cornelius Peter Lott, 22-23. 85 See Nauvoo Sealings and Adoptions 1846-1857, Book A, 385-386. 86 Available at http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/frameset_search.asp; Internet.
Camp Leader on the Iowa Trail
President Young Announced the Exodus On October 8, 1845, President Brigham Young sent an epistle abroad for all the Latterday Saints in the United States with the official announcement that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would be leaving the country to find a new place in the west to escape “bigotry, intolerance and insatiable oppression.” He admonished the members of the Church the prepare for the journey: “Therefore dispose of your properties and inheritance, and interests for available means, such as money, wagons, oxen, cows, mules, and a few good horses adapted to journeying and scanty feed.”87 On February 4, a man named Samuel Rogers wrote of his preparation for the Exodus, saying, “I went to C. P. Lott's and got some wheat.”88 On February 11, 1846, the same Samuel Rogers made a conditional contract to be married to Melissa Lott one week later, though the contract was annulled the following day.89 Crossing the Mississippi River With the first group of Latter-day Saints to leave the city of Nauvoo, Cornelius and his family crossed the Mississippi River in February1846 with a team of two cows and two oxen. Alzina, who was age twelve at the time of the departure, later remembered, “Our new homes were to be tents or covered wagons or any make shift covering to keep us out of the storms and protect us from wild animals.” The Lotts had been staying for a short time at a temporary camp at Sugar Creek, Iowa, when on February 22, “a raging blizzard struck the Mormon Pioneers leaving a foot of snow.”90 The temperatures dropped so low that the Mississippi River froze. In spite of the hardship the storm imposed upon the Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young acknowledged how it facilitated the pioneers’ crossing of the river, which he felt compensated for the delay in departure.91 While at Sugar Creek, Cornelius Lott assisted in the Latter-day Saints’ evacuation of Nauvoo. On February 24, Horace K. Whitney wrote, “Father Lott with his team left Nauvoo with the women and children, crossed the river on the ice, and took them to the camp. I accompanied them on horseback.”92 Three days later on February 27, Emmeline B. Wells noted, “Mrs. Whitney Sarah Ann and myself crossed the river to go to the encampment of the saints. Br. Lot and his wife took Mrs. W. and myself in their carriage. We crossed the river a part of the way on
History of the Church, 7:478-480. See Samuel Hollister Rogers, Diaries and Reminiscences of Samuel Hollister Rogers, 1841-1886, AMs (photocopy), box 1, file 4, p. 67, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 89 See Rogers, Diaries and Reminiscences of Samuel Hollister Rogers, box 1, file 4, p. 68. 90 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 8-9. 91 See History of the Church, 7:597-602. 92 As cited in William G. Hartley, “Winter Exodus from Nauvoo,” in The Iowa Mormon Trail: Legacy of Faith and Courage, ed. Susan Easton Black and William G. Hartley (Orem, Utah: Helix Publishing, 1997), xvi.
foot, and then went on to the encampment about 1 mile beyond; . . .”93 Brigham Young recorded the temperatures of February 27, to be 5 above zero at 6:00 a.m. and 21 at 6:00 p.m.94 That same day, Helen Mar Whitney wrote, “Friday, the 27th of February, I bade my last adieu to our home and city and re-crossed the Mississippi with Bishop Whitney’s family, whom he sent to camp in charge of Father C. R. Lott, the bishop remaining behind to see his own and church teams over, and he came to the camp next day.”95 The Trail across Iowa Though the departure from Nauvoo caused the Latter-day Saints great difficulty and heartache, some still found joy as they made their way across Iowa. On April 5, 1846, Cornelius’s son John Smiley married Mary Ann Faucett.96 The first part of the Latter-day Saints’ journey across Iowa was painfully slow. By Sunday, June 28, 1846, Cornelius Lott and his company arrived at Mount Pisgah.97 A week later, on July 5, Lott met up with Brigham Young at Council Bluffs.98 Within a week after that, Lott had set up camp at Keg Creek. It was there that Brigham Young dined with the Lott family around one o’clock on Sunday afternoon, July 12.99
Emmeline B. Wells, Diaries of Emmeline B. Wells 1844-1920, AMs, 27 February 1846, p. 21 (L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah), microfilm. Also in Carol Cornwall Madsen, comp., Journey to Zion: Voices from the Mormon Trail (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997), 113. 94 See Young, Journal of Brigham, 134. 95 Whitney, A Woman’s View, 333. (Note: Though the transcription here referred to him as “C. R. Lott,” this undoubtedly is an error). 96 See Lott, Descendants of Cornelius Peter Lott, 31. 97 See Rogers, Diaries and Reminiscences of Samuel Hollister Rogers, box 1, file 4, p. 74. 98 See Journal History, July 5, 1846. 99 See Journal History, July 12, 1846.
High Councilor at the Missouri River
Lott Assigned to Care for the Animals As President Young began to organize the encampment at Council Bluffs, on the Missouri River, he soon made use of Cornelius Lott’s expertise with the care of animals. On July 17, the president wrote, “I instructed Bishop Whitney to gather up all the Church cattle and let Father Lott take them up the river to winter.”100 Having received the assignment, Lott joined with the leaders of the Church that same day, July 17, to scout among the river bottoms and find a place for the cattle.101 The next day, July 18, Lott went fishing on a stream. Wilford Woodruff noted, “I went fishing And Br. Lot caught one white shad.”102 A few days later, the church leaders instructed Cornelius Lott, in writing, “to cross the river and get five or six teams to take loads to Grand Island; and have Andrew H. Perkins go to Savannah and procure a carding machine and fixtures and furnish funds to pay freight. Bro Lott was instructed to take his flocks and herds to Grand Island.”103 Lott crossed the Missouri River on July 30, 1846. Horace Whitney wrote, “Father Lott came up today, bringing considerable church property, with some cattle and sheep, etc.”104 Plans to move the camp to Grand Island for the winter did not last long as scouts found better pasture up the river.105 In addition, George Miller had learned from the Ponca Indians that “the Pawnees wintered their horses at Grand Island, and that our [the Mormons] immense herd would eat up all the feed before winter would be half gone, and when the Pawnees came in from their summer hunt they would kill all our cattle and drive us away.”106
Young, Journal of Brigham, 171. Also see Journal History, July 17, 1846, 1. See Journal History, July 17, 1846, 2. Also see Young, Manuscript History, 263. The entire group included Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, John Taylor, George A. Smith, Amasa Lyman, Newel K. Whitney, Jedediah M. Grant, Cornelius P. Lott, Andrew H. Perkins, John Scott, Jesse C. Little, James M. Flake, and Chauncey W. Webb. 102 Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:61. 103 Journal History, July 22, 1846. Upon the recommendation of Captain James Allen, leader of the Mormon Battalion, Church leaders began to make plans to move their herds to Grand Island, sixty miles west of the Platte River. Plans to move the camp to Grand Island for the winter did not last long as scouts found better pasture up the river (see Richard E. Bennett, We’ll Find the Place: The Mormon Exodus, 1846-1848 [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997], 44). 104 As cited in Whitney, A Woman’s View, 392. 105 See Richard E. Bennett, We’ll Find the Place: The Mormon Exodus, 1846-1848 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997), 44 106 As cited in David R. Crockett, Saints in the Wilderness: A Day-by-Day PioneerExperience, Winter Quarters and Mormon Battalion March (Tuscon, Arizona: LDS-Gems Press, 1997), 46.
Cutler’s Park and the Municipal High Council Church leaders searched for another location where the Latter-day Saints could camp for the winter. Coming to a suitable spot on August 7, Brigham Young proposed that they stop there and organize a city. He asked those present whether they accepted this proposition or if they preferred looking further. He also asked them “whether they should settle together, or every man for himself.”107 The camp historian noted, “Cornelius P. Lott, Reynolds Cahoon and others spoke in favor of following the counsel of the Twelve.”108 With the common consent of those present, Church leaders established that location as the winter encampment, known as Cutler’s Park.109 Heber C. Kimball motioned that a municipal high council consisting of twelve men be appointed to oversee the settling of the town. The Twelve called Lott to be part of that council.110 With Lott’s previous experience, his appointment to the council was a natural fit since caring for livestock held an important place in establishing the community. Ten days after being sustained to the Municipal High Council, on August 17, Brigham Young assigned Cornelius Lott and Lorenzo Young to gather “the old cattle belonging to the Church and place them in charge of Father Lott.”111 On August 21, Brigham Young rode out to Lott’s, though the historian did not reveal the nature of the visit.112 Church leaders decided to fatten the old cattle to be slaughtered for beef in order to preserve the young to work as draft animals for the trek the following year.113 In council on August 27, Church leaders determined that upon the slaughter of the old cattle, the owner would receive the hide and tallow and then receive “meat at intervals as he might wish,…”114 Brigham Young concurred that the men in camp should fatten their old cattle and proposed that a committee be formed “to buy, butcher and sell them, and find out by Bishop N. K. Whitney what can be had for hides delivered at this point, . . . ”115 Hence, the Twelve and the Municipal High Council voted that Lorenzo D. Young, Alpheus Cutler, and Cornelius P. Lott serve as the beef committee.116 The work of butchering began the next day.117 In a council on September 22, a question arose for as to whether Cornelius Lott should be permitted to tend his own beef cattle with the Church’s. The council voted and determined that Lott should be permitted to do so.118
Journal History, August 7, 1846, 1. Also see Young, Manuscript History, 297. Journal History, August 7, 1846, 1. Also see Young, Manuscript History, 297. 109 Cutler’s Park was located about five miles south of the Saints’ next settlement, Winter Quarters. 110 See Journal History, August 7, 1846, and Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 264. Also see Andrew Jenson, comp., Church Chronology: A Record of Important Events, (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1914), 30 and Young, Manuscript History, 297-298. The other high councilors were Alpheus Cutler, Winslow Farr, Ezra Chase, Jedediah M. Grant, Albert P. Rockwood, Benjamin L. Clapp, Samuel Russell, Reynolds Cahoon, Daniel Russell, Elnathan Eldredge, and Thomas Grover. 111 Journal History, August 17, 1846, 2. 112 See Journal History, August 21, 1846, 4. 113 Journal History, August 27, 1846. Also see Young, Manuscript History, 351-352. 114 Journal History, August 27, 1846. Also see Young, Manuscript History, 351-352. 115 Journal History, August 27, 1846. Also see Young, Manuscript History, 352. 116 See Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff Journal, 3:72; John Lyman Smith, John L. Smith Papers, AMs (photocopy), box 1, folder 2, page 21, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; and Journal History, August 27, 1846. 117 See Crockett, Saints in the Wilderness,131. 118 Journal History, September 22, 1846, 2.
Soon, the difficulties that the Latter-day Saints had experienced in the exodus from Nauvoo and the trek across Iowa, coupled with their scanty provisions and the new climate on the Missouri River, began to take toll. Sicknesses from malaria and pneumonia to tuberculosis and scurvy made their way through the Latter-day Saints’ settlements.119 By the end of the first winter, over seven hundred people had died.120 In a meeting on September 9, 1846, Heber C. Kimball reported that the Lucian Woodworth family was suffering from illness. Cornelius Lott volunteered to care for them.121 Establishing Winter Quarters Cutler’s Park was on disputed land between two native tribes, the Omaha and the Otoe. On August 28, Brigham Young met with Big Elk, the chief of the Omaha nation, to discuss the matter. By allowing the Latter-day Saints to stay on their land, the Omaha expected to receive protection against the feared Sioux.122 In exchange for permission to stay on Omaha land, Young offered, “We can do you good. We will repair your guns, make a farm for you, and aid you in any other way that our talents and circumstances will permit us . . . . ”123 Big Elk answered, “I am willing you should stay . . . . I hope you will not kill our game. I will notify my young men not to trouble your cattle. If you cut down all our trees I will be the only tree left . . . . We heard you were good people; we are glad to have you come and keep a store where we can buy things cheap. You can stay with us while we hold these lands.”124 Not wanting the Otoe to make claim on any benefits from the treaty, Big Elk recommended the Latter-day Saints move further north to be on undisputed Omaha territory. Unwilling to move as far as Big Elk advised, they moved further north to a location still on disputed land that better served their needs. The Twelve officially selected the site on September 11, 1846, known as Winter Quarters.125 A False Alarm Though the Latter-day Saints had left their homes behind with the hopes to also leave their enemies behind, rumors of pursuing mobs continued to keep the refugees on the alert. One such alarm sounded on September 21, 1846, while the Lott family was enjoying a baked goose dinner.126 Hosea Stout explained that Albert P. Rockwood of the Municipal High Council went around the wagons in the camp that night calling the men to arms to prepare to defend themselves from their oncoming enemies. The alarm caused great excitement as the men began to gather. It was Brigham Young and Willard Richards that brought the warning to the Lott camp. In the end, the report had turned out only to be a false alarm.127
See Church History in the Fulness of Times, 319-320. See Richard Edmond Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri: A History of the Latter-day Saints at Winter Quarters and at Kanesville, 1846-52 (Oklahoma City: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987), 140. 121 See Journal History, September 9, 1846. 122 See Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 71. 123 Young, Manuscript History, 353. 124 Young, Manuscript History, 354. 125 See Young, Manuscript History, 377. 126 See Eliza Maria Partridge Lyman, Diary of Eliza Maria Partridge Lyman, 1846-1885, TMs, 12 September 1846, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Also in Journey to Zion: Voices from the Mormon Trail, 102. 127 Stout, On The Mormon Frontier, 195.
The Wayside Stations With his various responsibilities, Cornelius Lott must have done some traveling among the various camps along the trail in Iowa. His daughter, Alzina, recalled that her father spent time “helping at the wayside stations.”128 Most likely the Church made use of Lott’s expertise in farming to raise crops along the trail for Latter-day Saints who had camped on the way and for others who were to follow later. Alzina explained, “The skill in farming and handling the prairie soil that my father possessed detained there our westward travel for the years of 1846-47.”129 Allen J. Stout, who was about 120 miles from the Missouri River, wrote a letter on October 23, 1846 to his brother Hosea, who was at Council Bluffs. Allen penned, “Lorry Ann is dead and Milton also there next to the youngest son Martha was so low that they did not think she would live an hour the old man is going to bring old father Lott on with him so br. Cooly told me if the old man brings the Lott tribe he may bee too heavy loaded to take me but I am well fixt for winter.”130 Hosea, who received the letter on November 8, 1846, commented, “Got a letter from A. J. Stout all well at Garden Grove yet.”131 Perhaps Lott was traveling between the “wayside stations” as Alzina had mentioned. High Council Meetings As part of the Municipal High Council, Lott took part in discussions concerning misconduct among the Church members. On November 5, one man by the last name of Beers had been abusing his family and had kicked his wife out of their tent. Upon hearing of the matter the next day, President Young called for a meeting with the council that evening to discuss the issue. That same day, the president had been dealing with another man named G. W. Harris who had also been guilty of similar offenses. President Young had “found him to be a mean, disagreeable, willfull incoragable man and regardless of peace and good order and the council and authorities of the church.” The council then met at 5 o’clock “on the Point overlooking the North End of the City.”132 Of the meeting, Hosea Stout explained, “It was proposed what to do with those who were in our midst whose bodies were tabernacles for devils that is rebelious wicked ungovernable men who are breeding a continual disturbance & exciting others to discontent &c It was unanimously decided to have the Law of God put in force on them &c. There was much said and but one feeling on the subject.”133 Of the same meeting, Brigham Young noted, “I related a dream and proposed some question(s) to the brethren…”134 To sit in these councils with such experienced men must have provided Cornelius with tremendous opportunities for growth. At another meeting a couple of weeks later on November 18, the Twelve and the Municipal High Council met to discuss whether the High Council should be taking care of the
Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 10. Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 10. 130 Allen J. Stout to Hosea Stout, October 23, 1846, TL, Hosea Stout Papers 1832-1875, Historical Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, microfilm. 131 Stout, On The Mormon Frontier, 209. 132 Stout, On The Mormon Frontier, 208. Those present included Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Amasa Lyman, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, Alpheus Cutler, Reynolds Cahoon, Cornelius P. Lott, Albert P. Rockwood, Thomas Grover, Jedediah M. Grant, Newel K. Whitney, Hosea Stout, and William Clayton. 133 Stout, On The Mormon Frontier, 208-209. 134 Journal History, November 6, 1846.
Church’s property. This, of course, affected Cornelius Lott since he had been tending the Church’s livestock. As a result of the discussion, Lott received the assignment, along with Newel K. Whitney, Albert P. Rockwood, William Clayton, and John Scott to “ascertain the situation and condition of the Church property in camp.” 135 Herding Sheep In the shepherding work, Cornelius Lott and Charles Bird became the key figures136 At Winter Quarters, the sheep were kept east of the city on the banks of the river.137 In addition to the regular challenges associated with shepherding, there was a shortage of help, just as there was with cattle herding. Exasperated, Charles Bird called on the sheep owners to provide help in tending the flocks. He also declared that if anyone were delinquent in paying the fee for watching the sheep, he would take the owner’s sheep as payment. The Church historian also added, “C Bird and C P Lott use their discretion in controlling the bucks.”138 Having observed the situation, on November 21, 1846, John D. Lee commented, “Bro. Lott has taken quite a No. of sheep to take care of for the brethren. while they could be hearded on the prairie the sheep done well enough, but now they certainly would do better in smawler No’s. I would recommend those that have sheep to take them back and pay him for his trouble.”139 Less than a month later, the council met on December 19, when they decided to award Cornelius one hundred dollars in goods from the store in consideration of his farming and herding for the Church.140 One man named Peter Wilson Conover recalled how Cornelius “agreed to take out sheep and take care of them and bring them to the mountains for one-half of them. Brigham and Heber had about two hundred head and I had about ninety head. There came a big snow after he took them, and snow fell about two feet deep. The big white wolves came down and killed one hundred in one night, and kept on killing until the old man came and begged us to come and get what was left. Out of ninety, I had seventeen left. I soon got rid of them and have never owned a sheep since.”141
Journal History, November 18, 1846. See Journal History, September 5, 1846. Also see Young, Manuscript History, 367. 137 See Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 74. 138 Journal History, September 5, 1846. Also see Crockett, Saints in the Wilderness, 145 and Young, Manuscript History, 367. 139 John D. Lee, Journals of John D. Lee 1846-47 & 1859, ed. Charles Kelly, (Salt Lake City: Western Printing Company, 1938), 19. Note: Lott kept a record wherein he logged the names of all those for whom he tended sheep and how many sheep they had. The list of people include Albert P. Rockwood (1), Henry Brooks (10), Ezra Chase (36), William Jennings (30), Franklin J. Davis (2), Augustus Stafford (4), William Kimball (1), Samuel Rolf (2), Mary Jones (3), Jonathan Herrington (number crossed out), Joseph Murdock (6), Charles Avery (5), Peter Conover (12), Jackson Redden (21), Nancy Buchanan (11), Nathum Bigelow (8), Gustuvus A. Perry (10), Temple (190), Horace Eldredge (2), Isaac Grundy (10), Alpheus Cutler (21), Eames Hunter (29), John Taylor (8), Thomas Mendenhall (8), Abraham Hoagland (7), Heber C. Kimball (25), Gardner Clark (13), Samuel Shepherd (21), Richard Spencer (11), Samuel Snyder (16), Job Barnum (10), Julian Van Orden? (9), Simeon Holmes (3), Caleb Haight (28), Joshua S. Holman (took home), William Fawcett (9), William Robinson (3), Charles Bird (17), and Elizabeth Vance (62). (See Cornelius Peter Lott, Daybook 1843-1852, AMs [Historical Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City], microfilm). 140 See Journal History, December 19, 1846. 141 Peter Wilson Conover, Autobiography of Peter Wilson Conover, TMs, p. 3, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
Lott’s Testimony Being a member of the Municipal High Council, Lott had greater opportunity to speak to the Church members. On December 13, 1846, he and President Brigham Young spoke to the Latter-day Saints in their Sunday meeting.142 Having attended the meeting, John D. Lee wrote:
Elder C.P. Lott addressed the meeting. Spoke with reference to the duty of the Saints in their several capacities, places and stations. Bore record that we now have a prophet in Iseral who declared while in the Temple of the Lord last winter that we (the Saints) would escape in the wilderness and that wickedness and abomination and corruption and blasphemy would be the doings of those who were left behind. The Temple which we have built unto the Most High God for the endowment of the Saints and the furtherance of his cawse, shall be turn into a mony changer and the habitation of thieves.143
Another in attendance, Mary Haskin Parker Richards, penned, “went to meetting. heard a raugh discourse. delivered by Bro [Cornelius Peter] Lot, and afew remarks by Bro Brigham. spent the rest of the day at home. reading, &C.”144 Following Lott’s discourse, President Young spoke to the wives of those who had been recruited as part of the Mormon Battalion. He reprimanded them for murmuring against the Church leaders because they didn’t have enough to live on.145 Fulfilling Duty At the beginning of the year of 1847, Cornelius left to go to the herds of one named Lathrop.146 As the weather turned bitterly cold, President Young sent a letter to Lott recommending that he return.147 Indeed, the temperatures had dropped lower than they had all winter. On January 9, Hosea Stout noted that the day was a “clear cold windy day” and recorded the thermometer at “9 degrees below zero.”148 The following day, Brigham Young reported, “Thermometer 13 degrees below zero.”149 The Word and Will of the Lord January 14, 1847 marked a significant day for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, being the date on which Brigham Young received the “Word and the Will of the Lord,” a revelation that later became the 136th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. The day after, President Young met with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the home of Ezra T. Benson to present the revelation for their approval. Then they decided “that the Word and Will of the Lord should be laid before the councils of the Church.”150 Hence, on January 16, at about 12:30 p.m.,
See Young, Journal of Brigham, 196. Also see Journal History, December 13, 1846. Lee, Journals of John D. Lee, 33. 144 Mary Haskin Parker Richards, Winter Quarters: The 1846-1848 Life Writings of Mary Haskin Parker Richards, ed. Maurine Carr Ward (Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 1996), 101. Note: In regards to the brackets, the editor, Maurine Carr Ward, explained, “Approximately five hundred individuals are mentioned in Mary’s writings. Where necessary for clarification, the identities of these persons are further specified in the text in brackets” (51). 145 See Thomas Bullock, The Pioneer Camp of the Saints: The 1846 and 1847 Mormon Trail Journals of Thomas Bullock, ed. Will Bagley (Spokane, Washington: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1997), 106. 146 This herd, under the care of Asahel Lathrop through the winter of 1846-1847, lived in the rush bottoms on the banks of the Missouri River about seventy miles north of Winter Quarters (See Young, Manuscript History, 524). 147 See Journal History, January 8, 1847. 148 Stout, On the Mormon Frontier, 223. 149 Young, Journal of Brigham, 203. 150 Journal History, January 15, 1847.
the Municipal High Council assembled at the home of Horace Eldridge where Apostle Willard Richards read the revelation.151 The council responded in the following manner:
Reynolds Cahoon moved that the communication be received as the Word and Will of God; Seconded by Isaac Morley. Alanson Eldridge approved of the same: it was plain to his understanding. Isaac Morley approved of it. Reynolds Cahoon said it was the voice of righteousness. Winslow Farr said it reminded him of the first reading of the Book of Mormon; he was perfectly satisfied and knew it was from the Lord. Cornelius P. Lott was perfectly satisfied. Daniel Russell said it was true; felt as he did after the first Mormon sermon that he heard. Ezra Chase was perfectly satisfied. Geo. W. Harris was so well satisfied that he wanted to say, Amen, at once. Thomas Grover felt that it was the voice of the Spirit. The vote passed unanimously. H. T. Eldredge felt to receive it as the Word and Will of the Lord and that its execution would prove our salvation. Hosea Stout said if there is anything in Mormonism that is the voice of the Lord to this people, so is the Word and Will of the Lord. He meant to live up to it. Council adjourned. 152
In his own record, Hosea Stout observed, “The council recieved it as a revelation with joy and gladness.”153 The minutes of the meeting gives further detail of Cornelius Lott’s response, saying that he was “perfectly satisfied – it give peace.”154 Administering to the Sick Due to the illnesses that plagued the Latter-day Saints during their time at Winter Quarters, many were called upon to exercise faith and to give Priesthood blessings to those who had fallen ill. Cornelius Lott, as a high councilor, was also called upon to administer to the sick. In February 1847, a man named Job Smith was suffering from what he termed the “black scurvy.” In his diary he related how the Church patriarch, John Smith, “was very kind to me during all my sickness, and I felt under a deep obligation to him. after he left me the enemy seized upon me and it did seem for a time as though I should die for certain. I sent for Father Smith again in my distress, and he brought with him C. P. Lott, and Abel Butterfield – they prayed for me – rebuked the destroyer – and said I should live. From that time I began to amend. I felt the power of God to operate upon me, and I can bear testimony that I was healed by the power of God.”155
See Journal History, January 16, 1847. Young, Journal of Brigham, 204. Also see Journal History, January 16, 1847. 153 Stout, On the Mormon Frontier, 229. 154 “Muncipal High Council Minutes of Winter Quarters,” January 16, 1847, in the Brigham Young Collection, Historical Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, as cited in Lyndon W. Cook, The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith: A Historical and Biographical Commentary of the Doctrine and Covenants (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985), 297. Also see Journal History, January 16,1847. 155 Job Smith, Job Smith Diary and Autobiography, 1849-1877, AMs, 66-67, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, available from http:// contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cgibin/docviewer.exe?CISOROOT=/Diaries&CISOPTR=7670. Internet.
Additional Plural Wives During his stay at Winter Quarters, Cornelius Lott took additional plural wives. When he had left Nauvoo in February of 1846, he had entered into plural marriage with Rebecca Fausett, Charity Dickinson, Elizabeth Davis, and Jane Rogers. On March 30, 1847, at 7:00 p.m., Cornelius was married to the fifty-four year-old Eleanor Wayman of Maryland by Brigham Young. Willard Richards, Ezra T. Benson, and Thomas Bullock stood as witnesses of the ceremony. Also that evening, Cornelius was married to Phoebe Knight, the widow of the late Joseph Knight. Since she had been married for time and eternity to her first husband, Phoebe was married to Cornelius for time only.156 Departure of the First Pioneers As the first group of Latter-day Saints prepared to make the trek west, the Church leaders held a special conference on the clear, cool morning of April 6, 1847.157 The members of the Church sustained Cornelius P. Lott as part of the high council in Winter Quarters. Since the previous August, when Lott accepted the call to serve on the high council, a number of changes had occurred in the make-up of the council. Those sustained in the April conference were Alpheus Cutler as the president, George W. Harris, Isaac Morley, Reynolds Cahoon, David Russell, Alanson Eldredge, Thomas Grover, Henry G. Sherwood, Cornelius P. Lott, Winslow Farr, Ezra Chase, and Phineas Richards.158 Though a few of the vanguard company left for the Salt Lake Valley the day before the conference, Brigham Young with the main body did not make their start until April 16, leaving Orson Hyde as the presiding officer at the Missouri River.159 Lott remained at the Missouri River as well. Horace Whitney, age 23, and his brother Orson, age 17, joined Brigham Young’s pioneer company. On April 8, Horace related, “Before starting, Father Lott blessed Orson and myself, and gave us many good promises of health and safety – that we should return to our friends again, etc., etc.”160 Trouble with the Omaha During that previous winter and into the spring, a Native American tribe called the Omaha had been driving off and killing the Latter-day Saints’ cattle. The dilemma became increasingly sore. Because of Cornelius Lott’s responsibilities for overseeing the Church’s cattle, this would have been one of his primary concerns. On April 19, 1847, the leaders of the Church held a special meeting at the home of Samuel Russell to take immediate action in order to resolve the problem. Hosea Stout remarked, “Much was said after which a committee was appointed to go and have an interview with Big Elk on the subject where upon President Alpheus Cutler Daniel Spencer, C. P. Lott and W. W. Phelps were apointed to go and complain of our grievences. The Feeling of the Council & also of Elders Taylor and Pratt were indignant at the conduct of the Omahas and the prevailing sentiment was to stop them if it had to be by harsher
Nauvoo Sealings and Adoptions 1846-1857, Book A, 741-742. See Stout, On the Mormon Frontier, 246. 158 See Journal History, April 6, 1847. 159 Church History in the Fulness of Times, 331. 160 As cited in Whitney, A Woman’s View, 441.
means.”161 The men met with Big Elk on the April 21, and reported that the Omaha confessed to putting their young men up to the trespasses. The tribal chiefs “seemed willing to stop them.”162 On April 24, three days after the meeting with Big Elk, John D. Lee wrote in his diary some extra information regarding the situation, wherein he mentioned more about Lott’s involvement. He recorded, “About 11 Bro. J. Busby, G. Laub, D. Davis, Dalton and Potter started for W. Q. and about 5 evening C. P. Lott with 9 men arrived on their way to meet and protect the heards from this Co. We learned that a proposition had been made by the chiefs of the Omaha to let us remain this season by hauling them 600 bus. corn purchased by government and that we should have 30 bus. out of that amount to feed our teams while hauling, and report says through the press that an engagement took place about 2, 3 and 4 of Feb. between Gen. Taylor and Santa Ana in which about 1000 of Taylor’s men fell and 2000 of Santa Ana’s men. Evening pleasant.”163 Unfortunately, on May 7, the “Omahas made another breach on the cattl.”164 This, of course, caused greater friction between the Latter-day Saints and the Omaha. Eighteen days later, on May 25, a group of Omaha led by Young Elk, the chief’s son, rode up to the Latter-day Saints’ camp to return some horses they had stolen previously in exchange for money, though they had intentions of making peace with the Latter-day Saints. In observance to Parley P. Pratt’s orders, Hosea Stout and the other watchmen did not allow them entrance since the Latter-day Saints in general felt quite hostile towards the Omaha for their treachery. Finally, after some debate the guards consented that Young Elk and two of his men could go in. As it turned out, six of the chiefs and braves went in, while the others stayed behind. Hosea Stout escorted them to the camp and while the Omaha waited outside, Stout went in and explained the situation to Elder Pratt, who refused to see them and ordered Stout to tell Young Elk that the Church leaders were angry with their tribe and that he didn’t want anything to do with him. Hosea Stout then went to Apostle John Taylor who supported Elder Pratt’s sentiments. Elder Taylor referred Stout to Cornelius Lott, who happened to pass by at the moment. Lott, echoing the feelings of Elders Pratt and Taylor, replied he didn’t wish to get involved, to which Stout angrily replied that he didn’t either. Elder Taylor overheard this exchange and asked Cornelius to go with Hosea Stout to hear Young Elk’s report. Cornelius obeyed. While all of this had transpired, Young Elk and his men had returned the stolen horses and received their pay. Lott and Stout returned with Young Elk and his small group to the other Omaha who had not been permitted to enter. They formed a regular council, with the Omaha on one side and the two men on the other, facing one another. In the council, Young Elk stated he was ready to hear what the Latter-day Saints had to say. Cornelius “replied very angrily that we had said heretofore all we had to say & they would not live up to their agreements & if they had nothing to say it was no use talking &c.” In his diary, Hosea Stout commented that he felt Cornelius’s response was “very hostile” and “unreasonable.” Young Elk remained calm and explained how he had been sent by his father to establish peace. He expressed his disappointment in the treatment he and his men had received from the Latter-day Saints in trying to return the horses. He further explained how he had to contend with his own people to give up the stolen horses. He then vowed that his people would no longer steal horses and expressed his desire for peace. Finally, Young Elk
Stout, On the Mormon Frontier, 250-251. Stout, On The Mormon Frontier, 251. 163 Lee, Journals of John D. Lee, 156. 164 Stout, On The Mormon Frontier, 253.
spoke sharply and quipped that if Brigham Young had been there, they would have been treated more kindly. Stout wrote, “Br Lott’s wrath abated & he talked reasonable in a short time & we all verily believed they were sincere in their words.” After this, Young Elk insisted that the Latter-day Saints give a definite answer regarding the situation and asked for presents to take to his father. The Latter-day Saints were not able to give any gifts at the time, but promised to relay the words of the council to Alpheus Cutler, the president of the high council.165 On May 20, Cornelius Lott joined with Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, John Smith, Newel K. Whitney, George W. Harris, Winslow Farr, Isaac Morley, John Young, and Joseph Young in sending out a notice concerning stray animals. They announced, “All stray cattle not claimed on that or the following day, shall be used by the authorities on the present mountain expedition and shall still be held as strays for the owners, as this people are all bound for the mountains.”166 On June 19, 1847, relations between the Latter-day Saints and the Omaha worsened. On that day, a tragedy occurred when Jacob Weatherby, Alfred Lambson, Nancy Chamberlain and Almira Johnson had left the Elkhorn River that morning on their way to Winter Quarters. Three Omaha men, who had been hiding in the grass, approached the wagon with rifles raised and stopped the oxen. Jacob Weatherby ordered the men to leave, but received no response. At that moment, both Weatherby and Lambson, who were unarmed, attacked a couple of the braves with the intent to disarm them. In the mean time, the remaining Omaha man, about fifteen feet away, shot Weatherby through the hip and bowels. Once he fell, the Omaha fled. The oxen were frightened by the gunshot and Nancy Chamberlain whipped them to drive them back to the Elkhorn River. Since Weatherby was not in a condition to travel, Lambson left him in the care of the women while he went ahead to get help from Winter Quarters, some five miles away.167 Three or four hours later, Lambson returned with Alpheus Cutler, Cornelius P. Lott, and Newel K. Whitney in carriages. When the rescue party found them, they put the injured Jacob Weatherby in Cornelius’s carriage and headed towards the Elkhorn. They soon found the oxen and wagon that had been driven off, and Alfred Lambson took the two women back to the camp. Lambson commented, “Father Cutler, Bishop Whitney, and Bro. Lott left me and hurried their horses to the camp. I thank those High Councillors for their kindness.” The next morning, Cornelius Lott gave Lambson a ride to where his family was.168 Jacob Weatherby died that same morning, hence, Cutler, Lott, and Whitney took his body with the intent to have him interred at Winter Quarters. However, “he mortified and smelt so bad they buried him in a buffaloe robe near the liberty pole.”169 The next morning around nine o’clock, Cornelius Lott joined company with Newel K. Whitney, Alpheus Cutler, Charles C. Rich, and William Kimball to travel by raft on the Elkhorn River to the main camp on the Platte. Here the party met with the leaders of the companies that were just departing for the Salt Lake Valley.170 Lott then returned to Winter Quarters. On June
See Stout, On The Mormon Frontier, 256-257. Journal History, May 20, 1847. 167 See Journal History, June 19, 1847, 3-6. Also see Patty Bartlett Sessions, Mormon Midwife: The 1846-1888 Diaries of Patty Bartlett Sessions, ed. Donna Toland Smart (Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 1997), 85 and Lee, Journals of John D. Lee, 179. 168 See Journal History, June 19, 1847, 5. 169 Sessions, Mormon Midwife, 86. Also see Journal History, June 20, 1847, 2. 170 See Journal History, June 21, 1847, 2.
21, Hosea Stout noted, “The main camp has all started on to the West & all the brethren who had gone to the Horne has returned.”171 The Church leaders called a meeting for the evening of June 22. Hosea Stout noted that the purpose for the council “was to consider upon a letter just recieved from Elder Hyde stating that there was to be a demand made by Mitchel, the Pottewattamie Agent, upon the Omahas for the man who shot Wetherbee & that 100 men would be raised at the Point to cross over to Belvue on next Thursday morning and desired 50 men to be raised here and put under my command and met them at 9 o’clock A. M. with the intention of making war on the Omahas in case they did not give up the murder and also the one who killed the man found dead on the Horn by our people.”172 A Return Trip to Missouri On June 30, 1847, one man named Ellis Mendenhall Sanders indicated that Cornelius Lott made a trip to Missouri with him. He recorded, “Got an order from Wm Kimball for crossing the River on 30th - started to Missouri in company with Bro. C.P. Lott, Boulton Porter & Davenport all went with me to Oregon on their way to the East, Davenport & I went three miles below Oregon & bought a load of corn...”173 Though it is not clear what Lott’s purpose was in going to Missouri, perhaps his mission was similar to that of Sanders’s, that is, to purchase supplies for the Latter-day Saints. Tragedy in the Lott Family Tragedy struck the Lott family towards the end of that year. Alzina Lott wrote, “Sadness came to my parents when in October of 1847 they lost two of their children in ten days. Harriet Amanda died Oct. 5, 1847 at the age of eleven years, and Joseph Darrow died Oct. 15, 1847 at the age of nine years. Mama and Papa had had two children born to them and now had lost three children in the time they had been on the plains. They also lost one grand-child, son of John Smiley Lott and Mary Ann Fausett Lott.”174 Hence, today at the Winter Quarter’s memorial site, one will find the names of the Lott children listed among those who died in that place. Little information is found concerning Cornelius through the winter of 1847-1848. On February 10, 1848, “Pres. Brigham Young and Elder Wilford Woodruff spent part of the day with Cornelius P. Lott in the Historian’s office, at Winter Quarters.”175 Then, six days later, on February 16, Hosea Stout noted, “Wed Feb 16th 1848. Occupied in distributing corn to the police. Procured another cow of Lott on picket guard tax.”176
Stout, On the Mormon Frontier, 262. Stout, On the Mormon Frontier, 262. 173 Ellis Mendenall Sander, Ellis Mendenhall Sander's journal, 12 Jul 1844 to 10 Nov 1858, copied by Sarah Ida Wiltbank Foremaster (1935), available from http://www.softcom.net/users/paulandsteph/ ems/journal.html; internet. 174 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 10. 175 Journal History, February 10, 1848. 176 Stout, On the Mormon Frontier, 302.
Captain Lott and the Trek West
The Departure for the Salt Lake Valley As part of Heber C. Kimball’s wagon train, Cornelius Lott took his family and started the trek west for the Salt Lake Valley, leaving in the summer of 1848.177 Before the journey, Mary Fielding Smith, the widow of Hyrum Smith, approached Cornelius Lott to seek assistance in preparation for the trek since he had charge over the cattle of the Church. Mary’s son, Joseph F. Smith, recalled, “When we started out from the Missouri River, we had only about one-half enough teams to haul our wagons.” Cornelius did not feel her outfit was up to the challenge of crossing the plains. President Smith explained, “But after diagnosing our case, considering the number of wagons we had, and the helplessness of the whole company, he very sternly informed the widow that there was no use for her to attempt to cross the plains that year, and advised her to go back to the river, to Winter Quarters, and wait another year, when perhaps she could be helped out.”178 Cornelius then warned Mary, “If you start in this manner, you will be a burden on the company the whole way, and I will have to carry you along or leave you on the way.” Mary replied, “I will beat you to the valley and will ask no help from you either,” to which Cornelius retorted, “You can’t get there without help, and the burden will be on me.”179 Mary Smith returned to the Missouri River and was able to borrow enough cattle in order to make the trek, promising to return them once they had arrived to the Salt Lake Valley.180 Mary Smith’s brother, Joseph Fielding, who made the journey with her, admitted that he also was not fully prepared to make the trek. His account may give greater background into Mary’s predicament. He wrote, “Bro. Terry, who had (been) engaged to drive a Team to the Valey and to bring one back to take his own Family, was quite discouraged, and said it was great Folly to attempt to go as we were fixt.”181 He further explained the situation, “At the close of the last Winter I commenced repairing my Sister’s Waggons, etc. to prepare her for her Journey to the Valey, but as I saw no possibility of going myself I bought the Improvement of five Acres of Land and sowed it with S (spring) Wheat, but still felt a desire to go if the Way should open, and as I was a Member of the Council, I was advised by Bro. H.C. Kimball to try and make a Start. I sold my Claim, borrowed some Corn, and did my best for Starting, but both my Sister and myself found it very difficult to get off.”182 On June 6, 1848, Cornelius Lott, Joseph Fielding, Mary Smith and their respective families had been expected to arrive at the Elkhorn camp shortly after dinnertime. When they delayed in their arrival, those in the camp began to feel concerned for their welfare. Heber C.
See Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 10. Joseph F. Smith, “A Plucky Pioneer Mother,” Improvement Era, June 1918, 756. 179 Joseph Fielding Smith, comp., The Life of Joseph F. Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1938), 148. 180 See Joseph F. Smith, “How One Widow Crossed the Plains,” Young Woman’s Journal, Feb. 1919, 165. 181 Joseph Fielding, Diary of Joseph Fielding, TMs (Salt Lake City: n.p., 1963), 148, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Also in Journey to Zion: Voices from the Mormon Trail, 299. 182 Fielding, Diary of Joseph Fielding, 148. Also in Journey to Zion: Voices from the Mormon Trail, 298-299.
Kimball sent ten armed footmen to find the party and give them aid if necessary. Lott’s group finally arrived safely at five o’clock, although they had a broken axle and were “very short of team.”183 William Thompson, the camp clerk, wrote on June 6, “About one o'clock Brother C. P. Lott [Cornelius P. Lott] and family come in sight. He drove up his teams and gave Sister Mary Smith 2 yoke of cattle that Brother Egan [Howard Egan] had procured for her by the command of Brother Heber. C. Kimball.” Shortly after this, they met a man named Jesse Brailey, who had just had an unfriendly encounter with an American Indian. Thompson continued, “We then hitched up our teams about 1 o'clock and prosecuted our way in company with Brother Lott and family.”184 Lott as a Captain of Ten On June 8, John Pack called the camp together to elect officers. William Burton, who served as Henry Herriman’s clerk, noted, “The officers were all accepted according to their previous appointment: Henry Herriman, Captain of Hundred; John Pack, Captain of the 2nd Fifty; Caleb Baldwin, Captain of the 1st Ten; William Burton Captain of the 2nd Ten; Cornelius P. Lott Captain of the 3rd Ten; Francis McFerson, Captain of the Guard, and William Burton, Clerk. Various instructions were given to the brethren; one thing was enjoined upon them: ‘To offer supplication to the Most High, twice a day.’ The hand of God was manifest in our midst, peace and union prevailed in our company.”185 By June 16, Lott’s company arrived at the fork where the Loup and Platte Rivers join.186 Around this time, Jane Wilson, a woman in Mary Fielding Smith’s group went ahead to catch up to her mother who was traveling in Newel K. Whitney’s company, so she could get some “snuff.” Since the companies were traveling so near each other, she intended to return to Lott’s camp that evening. Joseph F. Smith’s son, Joseph Fielding Smith, wrote that Lott, “knowing that Jane had gone ahead, concluded to camp in the middle of the day, and the result was that the advanced company pulled further away as they traveled during the afternoon.” Lott, seeing that Jane had not returned by the late afternoon, called the camp together and asked “in a very and excited manner, ‘Is all right in the camp!’” Each group responded to the affirmative. He finally turned to Mary Smith and asked if she was all right. After she had answered that all was well, “he exclaimed: ‘All is right, is it, and a poor woman lost!’” According to Joseph F. Smith, his mother answered, “Father (Lott), Jane is not lost, she has gone to see her mother, and is quite safe.” Cornelius reportedly countered, “I rebuke you, Widow Smith, in the name of the Lord! She is lost and must be sent for at once.” Mary consented and sent her fifteen year-old son, John, “traveling in the night through droves of ravenous wolves, fierce for the flesh of dead cattle strewed along the road, howling and even snapping at him on every side, their eyes gleaming in the dark.” After arriving, he found Jane Wilson “all snug and comfortable with her mother.”187 Lott had been in charge of Joseph Smith’s farm in Nauvoo and overseer of the Church’s livestock for a time at Winter Quarters. As would be expected, he resumed such responsibility
Journal History, June 6, 1848, 4. William Thompson, William Thompson Journal, June 6, 1848, available from http://www.lds.org/ churchhistory/library/source/0,18016,4976-5528,00.html; Internet. 185 Journal History, September 24, 1848, 3. 186 See Thompson, William Thompson Journal, June 15, 1848. 187 Smith, The Life of Joseph F. Smith, 149-150.
while on the trek across the plains. On June 18, 1848, “The vote was unanimous and Cornelius P. Lot was chosen Captain of the Herd.”188 According to one clerk, the company consisted of “64 wagons, 179 souls, 21 horses, 16 mules, 19 oxen, 93 cows, 27 loose cattle, 74 sheep, 28 hogs, 71 hens, 22 dogs and 5 cats.”189 On the warm and beautiful morning of June 21, Heber C. Kimball called a meeting together consisting of nine men, including Cornelius Lott. In his journal, William Thompson wrote, “Brother Kimball said that there must be some arrangements made so that all things may be done in order. He mentioned the fact of the cattle, that the camp left the day previous and said that he wanted every 10 to furnish 1 hand to help drive loose stock. To this the brethren agreed. He then spoke to the brethren about order. He said that this must be observed in order to be able to get along in harmony. He said that we were as peaceable a company as ever was known to travel together. There was several remarks mad by Herriman, Pack & Lott about law and order, &c. The meeting was closed by prayer by Henry Herriman, and the meeting was dismissed.”190 Being a captain over ten, Lott was able to speak to the Latter-day Saints on various occasions. At twelve o’clock noon on Sunday, June 25, he had one such opportunity. William Thompson noted that Lott “made several good remarks about order, diligence, reverence, &c.”191 Eleven days after Lott had been appointed Captain of the Herd, he expressed his desire to be released from the responsibility. On the evening July 29, the company leaders called a meeting to discuss the matter. After the motion had been made for Lott’s release, the vote was unanimous. Heber C. Kimball then motioned “that each fifty take turns in driving the herd, every other day.” His motion was carried and “the meeting was dismissed with Bro Kimball blessing the people.”192 While camped a mile east of Rattlesnake Creek on the Platte River on the evening of July 6, Cornelius Lott called his company together to Mary Smith’s fire. They opened the meeting by singing the hymn “How Firm a Foundation,” after which Lott himself offered the invocation. The clerk recorded that Lott “then adressed the meeting on the importance of the work we are now engaged in. He spoke of us being the people that Jeremiah spoke of. We were going to establish the house of the Lord on the top of the mountain &c. He exhorted the brethren to diligence & faithfulness in garding in herding in keeping all the commandments of God &c. Brother Bartholomew [Noah Willis Bartholomew] then exprest his satisfaction at our meeting togather. He said it would give us a chance to know what was in our hearts, &c. The meeting was then dismist by Brother Joel Terry.”193 On the morning of July 15, not far from Chimney Rock, Noah Bartholomew had the point box off his hind axle break, which damaged to the point of the axle. Once Cornelius learned of the mishap, he stopped his company and took William Thompson with him to help mend Bartholomew’s wagon. Lott and Thompson spent two hours aiding in the repair, after which they continued on their way.194
Journal History, September 24, 1848, 4. Journal History, September 24, 1848, 3. 190 Thompson, William Thompson Journal, June 21, 1848. 191 Thompson, William Thompson Journal, June 25, 1848. 192 William Burton, William Burton Journal, June 29, 1848, available from http://www.lds.org/ churchhistory/library/source/0,18016,4976-5487,00.html; Internet. 193 Thompson, William Thompson Journal, July 6, 1848. 194 See Thompson, William Thompson Journal, July 15, 1848.
A few days later, on July 21, Heber C. Kimball halted his company for a day in order to give rest to the cattle and for the women to wash. President Kimball also took the opportunity to instruct his camp about law and order. He then sent out some scouts, including Cornelius Lott, to find wood and a place to feed the livestock. That evening, Lott and the others returned with the report that the feed was poor. Later, Orrin Porter Rockwell came to President Kimball’s camp from the Salt Lake Valley “bringing despatches of June 21.”195 Weakening Cattle By the time the Latter-day Saints had passed Fort Laramie near the end of July, the lack of feed for the cattle became a considerable dilemma due to a drought that year. On July 25, the company clerk noted, “One of Brother Lotts & one of Brother H. C. Kimball's cattle give out today on account of the long drive without feed. Our cattle looked very weak & empty this evening, although they pulled well & traveled well through the day.” That same day, Heber C. Kimball came riding up to Lott’s company in his buggy looking for a place to camp for the night. Cornelius, along with Titus Billings, requested that President Kimball set up camp next to theirs, which he did.196 The following day, the leaders of Heber C. Kimball’s company decided to divide into smaller companies due to the scarcity of feed for the livestock. President Kimball and John Pack with their respective companies moved ahead for search of better feed, while Billings and Lott with their companies stopped on Dead Timber Creek. Thompson recorded, “The brethren in C. P. Lott's 10 counseled togather after the other camps went off & appointed Brothers C. P. Lott & Noah W. Bartholomew to go a few miles west to see if there was any better feed for cattle; they returned in 2 hours and reported that there was none except what the brethren had taken up. Drove up our cattle and chained them up for the night. About 8 p.m. it commenced raining & rained nearly all the night moderately.”197 The situation grew worse as the Latter-day Saints pressed on, as they were still unable to find sufficient feed for the cattle. On July 28, several cattle in Lott’s company gave out as well as those in other camps, afflicted with what the camp historian termed “the blind staggers.” That night they camped at a dry riverbed.198 The following morning, Lott took his carriage up to Heber C. Kimball’s camp to get some water. Upon his return, they divided the water among the families. After breakfast, Lott called his company together for prayer before they resumed the journey.199 A couple of days later, on Sunday, July 30, the camp gathered together at eight o’clock in the morning to hold the Sabbath day meeting. After praying and singing a hymn, Cornelius spoke to his company “on the subjects of faithfulness and diligence, &c.”200 On August 2, the camp historian commented, “The brethren was all wornd out with the cattle.” At nine o’clock that morning, the camp gathered and Joseph Fielding prayed. However, for an hour they were delayed in setting off because one of Lott’s cows had wandered off. 201
Thompson, William Thompson Journal, July 21, 1848. See Thompson, William Thompson Journal, July 25, 1848. 197 Thompson, William Thompson Journal, July 26, 1848. 198 See Thompson, William Thompson Journal, July 28, 1848. 199 See Thompson, William Thompson Journal, July 26, 1848. 200 Thompson, William Thompson Journal, July 30, 1848. 201 See Thompson, William Thompson Journal, August 2, 1848.
Still beleaguered because of the lack of feed for the animals, the camp turned to the Lord for help. On August 3, the clerk noted, “Our camp met together this evening after sundown for the purpose of calling upon the Lord to bless & strengthen our cattle; to harden their feet, &c.” Lott “made a few remarks concerning our position & circumstances, faith, &c.”202 In the evening of August 7, Cornelius Lott called the brethren to gather at his campfire for a meeting. Lott addressed the men in regards to President Kimball’s counsel on the matter of faithfulness and diligence. After his remarks, William Thompson spoke on the subject of forgiveness.203 The following Sunday morning, the camp met for Sabbath day worship at nine o’clock. Again Lott had the opportunity to give “good instruction,” followed by words from Titus Billings and Joseph Fielding.204 During the middle of August, while the company traveled between the Platte and Sweetwater Rivers, one of Mary Fielding Smith’s “best oxen laid down in the yoke as if poisoned and all supposed he would die.” At this point, according to Joseph F. Smith, Cornelius Lott “came up and seeing the cause of the disturbance he blustered about. . . as if the world were about at an end. ‘There,’ said he, ‘I told you you would have to be helped and that you would be a burden on the company.’” However, at Mary’s request, her brother Joseph and a man named James Lawson administered to the ox with consecrated oil, after which the animal immediately rose and continued on as if nothing had happened. This act amazed the others in the company. After a short time, another of her oxen collapsed, but after receiving the same treatment as the other, it regained strength and resumed its journey. Finally, this occurred yet a third time with another ox with the same results. Joseph F. Smith noted that Captain Lott was put out that the oxen recovered.205 Lott’s Gratitude Around this time Cornelius Lott became quite demonstrative in his gratitude to the Lord for preserving his camp. Upon arriving at Devil’s Gate around one o’clock in the afternoon of August 17, Cornelius and his wife joined with Mary Smith and William Thompson to climb approximately four hundred feet to see the view from the top of the cliffs. The company then set up camp about four miles west of Devil’s Gate on the bank of the Sweetwater. Out of gratefulness, Cornelius raised a small standard with the inscription: “Standard of thanks to the God of Israel for the preservation of our camp. Titus Billings, Cap. C.P. Lott, Cap. of 10, Joseph Fielding & family, Mary Smith & family, N. W. Bartholomew & family, Thomas Harrington & family, J. S. Lott & wife, William Thompson.” That evening, Lott called the camp together. William Thompson recorded, “After singing a hymn, Brother C. P. Lott said he felt he would like to have the camp meet togather that we might sing a little & pray or do anything the Spirit might dictate. Brother Joseph Fielding engaged in prayer. Brother Lott then arose & expressed
Thompson, William Thompson Journal, August 3, 1848. See Thompson, William Thompson Journal, August 7, 1848. 204 See Thompson, William Thompson Journal, August 13, 1848. 205 Smith, The Life of Joseph F. Smith, 150. In another account of what may be the same incident, President Smith wrote, “We journeyed on, meeting with mishaps, losing our oxen, etc. At one time, I remember, one of our oxen, ‘Old Buck’ was taken sick and the captain said: ‘It will die, unyoke it, and leave it,’ closing his remarks with, ‘I told you that you would be a burden to your company.’ The widow went to her wagon, brought a bottle of consecrated oil and with the assistance of Brothers Fielding and Terry used it. ‘Old Buck’ jumped to his feet and we went on our way rejoicing. Later the captain met with the same misfortune, the widow offered help but her assistance was declined” (As cited in “How One Widow Crossed the Plains,” Young Woman’s Journal, Feb. 1919, 165).
his feeling that we had been thus far blest. He exhorted the brethren to attend to the sayings of Brother H.C.K. and pray for their cattle relying on the word of that they would be heeld &c.”206 On the morning of Sunday, August 20, the men in the camp gathered for prayer at ten o’clock. After Titus Billings had offered the prayer, Cornelius took occasion to speak. William Thompson wrote, “This morning Brother Lott made few remarks to the brethren concerning the preservation of our camp. He said he believed if we would call upon the Lord we might have more milk, for He was as able to bless our cows that they would give us milk although they have to work, as he was to bless the raw meat that the Nephites eat & give suck to their children, &c.”207 Later that same day at four o’clock, the camp met together for worship services. Captain Lott “said the brethren might improve their time as they felt disposed.” Following that, Joseph Fielding spoke “at some length” on the principles of faith, Noah W. Bartholomew spoke about union, and William Thompson instructed the camp on the same subjects. After those three gave their remarks, Cornelius “spoke to the brethren & sisters, expressing his satisfaction of the meeting. He said that we had been talking on the same principles that President H. C. Kimball had been talking to the brethren about & he was glad to know that the same spirit was among us, &c.”208 Within a couple of weeks after, around September 1, the company arrived at the last crossing of the Sweetwater, when three of Captain Lott’s oxen and his best mule died. Joseph F. Smith reported that Lott “was obliged to get help for himself before he could proceed.” President Smith continued:
I heard him say, ‘It looks suspicious that four of my best animals should lie down in this manner all at once, and die, and everybody’s cattle but mine escape!’ and he then insinuated that somebody had poisoned them through spite. All of which was said in my presence and for my special benefit, which I perfectly understood, although he did not address himself directly to me. It was well for him that I was only a stripling of nine years of age, and not a man, even four years would have cost the old man dearly regardless of his age, and perhaps a cause of regret to me. My temper was beyond boiling, it was ‘white hot,’ for I knew his insinuation was directed or aimed at my mother, as well as I know that such a thing was beyond her power even had she been capable of such a deed. All of which he knew as well as I, and all the camp. At this moment I resolved on revenge for this and the many other insults and abuses he had heaped upon my mother, and perhaps could have carried out my resolutions had not death come timely to my relief and taken him away, while I was yet a child.209
Joseph F. Smith elaborated that part of the reason that he felt Cornelius Lott held a vendetta against Mary Smith was because she did not allow her nine year-old son to stand guard at nights. President Smith shared an incident related to this particular conflict, saying that one night Lott “terrifically” shook the wagon in which Mary Smith and her family were sleeping and raised a false alarm with a “loud hoarse whisper shouting ‘Indians! Indians! Get up quick , Widow Smith! We’re beset by Indians!’ Mother replied, ‘Why don’t you arouse the men, I don’t see
Thompson, William Thompson Journal, August 17, 1848. Thompson, William Thompson Journal, August 20, 1848. 208 Thompson, William Thompson Journal, August 20, 1848. 209 Smith, The Life of Joseph F. Smith, 151.
what I can do.’ At this he went to the next wagon where some of the family were asleep, shaking it rather mildly, and then slinked off, not wishing to carry his alarm any further.”210 Cornelius again took the opportunity to speak to those in his company on September 17, at another camp meeting. William Thompson related, “Brother C. P. Lott spoke for some length concerning the unity of the Saints, &c. He said that H.C.K. instructed Father Billings & him to move on and have a meeting of thanksgiving & dedicate and consecrate ourselves to the Lord afresh. Whereupon C. P. Lott called a vote to see if it was the minds of the meeting to do as H.C.K. instructed us. Unanimous. Brother Thompson, Ryle, Billings, Lawson & others followed with remarks concerning the work we are engaged in etc, etc. The meeting was good. The Spirit of the Lord was with us. All felt well. The unity of the Spirit prevailed.”211 The Final Advance to the Valley On September 22, 1848, the company camped within a day’s journey from the Salt Lake Valley. The following morning, Captain Lott gave the word to gear up and head on. According to Joseph F. Smith, the Widow Smith’s cattle “for some reason had strayed away, and were not to be found with the herd.” Lott ordered the camp to leave without her. Part way up the hill leading to the entrance to Parley’s Canyon, a violent storm broke out so that “the captain seemed forced to direct the company to unhitch the teams, turn them loose, and block the wheels to keep the wagons from running back down the hill.”212 One described the storm as a “hard rain & wind which extended over the valley.”213 As the storm raged, the animals scattered. Yet shortly afterwards, the storm passed and Mary Smith and her group, now ready to travel, were able to ascend the hill and overtake Lott’s company. Joseph Fielding asked his sister, “Mary, what shall we do? Go on, or wait for the company to gather up their teams?” She replied, “Joseph, they have not waited for us, and I see no necessity for us to wait for them.”214 With that, she took her small group and proceeded to enter the valley on Saturday, September 23, leaving Lott and the rest of the company behind. The next day, Mary Smith and her clan bathed and attended a meeting where Presidents Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball addressed the Latter-day Saints. Joseph F. Smith commented, “On our way home, we met the captain, tired and dirty, just entering the fort, thus proving the truth of the widow’s words: ‘I will beat you to the valley and ask for no help either.’”215 These incidents between Mary Fielding Smith and Cornelius Lott made a deep impression on Joseph F. Smith, who was only nine years old at the time. Sadly, years passed before he resolved his bitterness against Lott. In a letter to his brother, John, in 1861, he wrote the following:
I wish you would write to me. You must excuse me for writing so much, and talking as I have done. the Truth is John if we say what we think, there is nothing hidden, and then if difficulties arrise we have the satisfaction of knowing that we did our best to prevent it, The surest way to prevent “feelings” is to have a good understanding about everything, You understand what I mean, and my motto is, have the Spirit, to resent a wrong, and a heart to forgive it. Not that you have don wrong or that I think so, but that is the
Smith, The Life of Joseph F. Smith, 151-152. Thompson, William Thompson Journal, September 17, 1848. 212 Smith, The Life of Joseph F. Smith, 155. 213 Stout, On the Mormon Frontier, 327. 214 Smith, The Life of Joseph F. Smith, 154-155. 215 As cited in Smith, “How One Widow Crossed the Plains,” Young Woman’s Journal, February 1919, 171.
principel, that I work on, The hardest thing for me to forgive is wraped in the memory of C. P. Lot! Yet even that I forgive, tho’ I never will forget it. My memory is keen upon these things, So no doubt is yours, but I shall try and never mention anything of this kind again. I begg pardon for what I may have done wrong, and humbly ask forgiveness.216
Regrettably, the only known account of the relationship between Mary Smith and Cornelius Lott comes from the one-sided perspective of a boy who was no more than nine-yearsold when the incidents occurred.
Joseph F. Smith to John Smith, January 20, 1861, ALS, Joseph F. Smith Papers, Historical Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.
Senator Lott in the Territory of Deseret
Settling in the Salt Lake Valley Upon arrival to the Salt Lake Valley, Cornelius, whose wife was eight months pregnant, built a “very primitive” two room cabin “on the corner of third south and what is now State Street.” Alzina Lott recalled, “It was made with rough hewn logs with openings between the timbers daubed with chinking and mud.”217 Referring to her mother, Alzina also wrote, “The same hands that tidied the eight room dwelling where the Prophet sat, talked and visited now swept with a sage brush broom, the dirt floor of our new cabin.”218 In spite of the difficult circumstances, they “were just happy to be together and have a safe place to call home at last.”219 Shortly after building the little home, Cornelius’s daughter, Mary Elizabeth, married Abraham Losee on November 12, 1848. Losee had become acquainted with the Lotts in Nauvoo when he worked on the Smith farm under Cornelius’s direction. Only four days after the marriage, Permelia delivered Benjamin Smith Lott on November 16.220 The Council of Fifty Reconvened Early in the month of December 1848, Brigham Young called the Council of Fifty together to discuss the problem of those who had let their cattle and horses roam free in the valley, exposing them to the “ravages of the wolves & Indian(s).” They decided to appoint a committee that would round up the animals for their safety. This committee consisted of Amasa Lyman, John D. Fuller, Orrin Porter Rockwell, John D. Lee, and George D. Grant. Once they had done their duty in driving the animals to the fort, a few individuals became angry because they had to retrieve their livestock that had been driven there. Some used harsh language against those of the committee. Amasa Lyman requested to be released because of the insults. Brigham Young opposed the motion that any of the committee be released, since they would only have to find replacements for them anyhow. Concerning those who let their animals roam freely, President Young declared “that natural feelings would Say llet them & their catle go to Hell, But duty Says if they will not take care of there catle, we must do it for them. We are to be saviours of men in these last days. Then don’t be bluffed off by insults or abuse.” After his statement, the president moved that the committee remain in place and that they add more men to the committee. Among those added were Cornelius P. Lott, Newel K. Whitney, Jedediah M. Grant, Daniel H. Spencer, Charles C. Rich, Erastus Snow, and Shadrach Roundy.221
Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 10. Willes, “Personal History of Permelia Darrow Lott,” 2. 219 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 10. 220 See Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 10-11. 221 See Lee, A Mormon Chronicle, 80-82.
The War against Vermin Near Christmastime that year, the Latter-day Saint settlers launched a war against various wild animals that plagued them by destroying their grain and livestock. John D. Lee referred to them as “wasters and destroyers” and listed such animals as “wolves, wildcats, catamounts, Pole cats, minks, Bear, Panthers, Eagles, Hawks, owls, crow or Ravens & magpies.” He asserted that thousands of dollars worth of grain and livestock had already been destroyed. To curb the problem, Brigham Young nominated John D. Lee and John Pack as captains to oversee the extermination of the animals. The captains decided to turn the hunt into a competition, each captain choosing one hundred men to hunt the vermin. The wings of the various birds and the skins of each animal were worth a certain number of points. A raven wing was worth one; the wing of an owl, hawk, or magpie was worth two; an eagle’s wing, five; the skin of a wolf, fox, wildcat, or catamount was worth ten; the skin of a Pole cat or mink, five; and of a bear or panther, fifty. The captains agreed that the company that attained the fewer number of points by February 1, 1849 at ten o’clock would provide a meal for both parties and their wives at a social dinner at John Pack’s home after the competition. Cornelius Lott was chosen to be part of John D. Lee’s company.222 During the month of January 1849, the hunters destroyed such a large number of vermin, especially the wolves and foxes, that Lee and Pack felt the competition should be extended for an extra month, to which the council agreed.223 Finally, on March 5, the hunt ended and the men came in with literally thousands of wings and skins to be counted. John D. Lee recorded, “At 4 P.M. poles closed, giving J. D. Lee a majority of two thousand five hundred & 43 skelps. The entir No. brought on both sides was estimated between Fourteen & Fifteen Thousand.” Lee concluded, “The hunt resulted in good. Many 1000 dollars worth of catle were Saved in this move.”224 A Visit to the Sessions Shortly after the hunt had begun, on January 7, Patty Sessions recorded in her diary, “Sunday 7 Br [Cornelius Peter] Lott came here talked with Mr Sessions.”225 That evening at a high priest quorum meeting, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Newel K. Whitney disfellowshipped her husband, David Sessions, for a “breach of covenant”.226 A week later, however, Brother Sessions acknowledged his faults and was received back into fellowship.227 Lott’s involvement in the case remains uncertain. The Territory of Deseret As the new territory of Deseret began to develop, Cornelius Lott took part with the Council of Fifty for its establishment. On February 17, 1849, the council discussed which system of weights and measures the territory would adopt. At the meeting, Albert Carrington, who served on the “commity of weights & measures,” reported that after examining the various systems, he found the French to be the simplest and most correct. To this, John D. Lee, noted,
See Lee, A Mormon Chronicle, 82-84. Also see Journal History, December 24, 1848, 1-2. See Lee, A Mormon Chronicle, 87. 224 Lee, A Mormon Chronicle, 100. 225 Sessions, Mormon Midwife, 126. 226 Journal History, January 7, 1849. 227 Sessions, Mormon Midwife, 126.
“C. P. Lott said that he was entirely oposed to adopting the System of any Nation, that we should be a paron [pattern] to the world instead of our folowing their rules, weights & measurs.” To this, Brigham Young expressed his opinion that the territory of Deseret should take on “the most easy, simple, plain System that could be had.”228 Continued Association with Brigham Young Cornelius continued to enjoy a close association with the president of the Church and the other leading officers. That spring, Brigham Young assigned Cornelius as supervisor over his own Forest Dale Farm, in keeping with his previous responsibilities with farming and ranching. Alzina wrote, “He was once again doing the kind of work he loved and was best suited for.”229 Lott hired John Riggs Murdock, who had worked for him as a boy on the Smith farm in Nauvoo. In reference to Murdock, one historian noted, “…it was therefore quite natural that Father Lott should want him to assist in the development of this large and important farm.”230 This arrangement would be of particular interest to Lott’s daughter, Almira, who later that year would be married to the young man. On May 10, 1949, President Young visited with Cornelius and gave him instructions.231 Three days later, the president and his wife, along with Thomas Bullock, visited the Lott home and married Ira J. Willes, a former member of the Mormon Battalion, to Cornelius’s oldest daughter, Melissa.232 The marriage was for time only since she was sealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith six years earlier as a plural wife for time and eternity. The young couple lived another year in the Great Salt Lake Valley before moving to Lehi to farm.233 At ten o’clock in the morning on Sunday, June 3, 1849, Cornelius P. Lott and William W. Phelps had the opportunity to speak to a congregation of Latter-day Saints at “the stand” in Salt Lake City.234 Unfortunately, the topic of Lott’s address remains unknown. On the fifth anniversary since Joseph Smith’s martyrdom, Eliza R. Snow, a widow to the Prophet, visited with Cornelius and Permelia. She wrote, “Wed. 27th This day is 5 years since Joseph’s death! I rode in the forenoon with br. & sis. Lott. in the afternoon read Joseph’s lectures to a circle of ladies.”235 One historian asserted that “The ‘circle of ladies’ would likely have been Joseph Smith’s widows now living in the Valley, and the ‘lectures’ were most probably the published ‘Lectures on Faith.’”236 It may be that Lott had this contact with Sister Snow that day because his own daughter, Melissa, had been a plural wife to the Prophet. The Territorial Senate July 2, 1849 marked a significant day in the history of the Church when its leaders organized the Deseret Territorial Senate.237 Previously, the general council, or Council of Fifty,
Lee, A Mormon Chronicle, 92. Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 11. 230 Tanner, A Biographical Sketch of John Riggs Murdock, 103. 231 See Journal History, May 10, 1849, 1. 232 See Journal History, May 13, 1849. 233 See Lott, Descendants of Cornelius Peter Lott, 26. 234 See Journal History, June 3, 1849. 235 Snow, The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 229, as found in the orginal. 236 Snow, The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 298. 237 See Constitution of the State of Deseret, with the Journal of the Convention which Formed it and the Proceedings of the Legislature Consequent Thereon (Kanesville, Iowa: Orson Hyde, 1849), 13.
had chosen the First Presidency to become the political leaders of the provisional State of Deseret. Brigham Young was to be governor with Willard Richards as the secretary of state and Heber C. Kimball as chief of justice.238 The territorial senate consisted of Newel K. Whitney as president, Thomas Bullock as clerk, John Scott as “Sergeant-at-Arms,” and Isaac Morley, Reynolds Cahoon, Newel K. Whitney, John Smith, Phinehas Richards, Shadrach Roundy, William W. Phelps, John Young, Daniel Spencer, Joseph Fielding, Cornelius P. Lott, David Pettigrew, Abraham O. Smoot, and Charles C. Rich as members. After each had presented his credentials and were qualified, they took their seats. The following day, July 3, “Senate met pursuant to adjournment. The journal being read, upon motion of Senator Morley, a committee of three, namely, Daniel Spencer, Joseph Fielding and Cornelius P. Lott, was appointed to notify the Lieutenant Governor of their organization, and to wait upon him to the chamber of the Senate.”239 Hence, Lott continued in active public service and became one of the founding fathers of what would eventually become the State of Utah. Later that year, John R. Murdock, son of early Church missionary John Murdock, took Almira Lott to be his bride. Heber C. Kimball performed the ceremony in the Lott home on November 12.240 Their marriage would have been solemnized exactly one year after Mary Elizabeth was wed to Abraham Losee. Sacred Meetings with the Apostles Just as Cornelius Lott had opportunity in Nauvoo to take part in sacred meetings with the leading brethren of the Church, so he did in the Latter-day Saints’ new mountain home. On the evening of February 26, 1850, in the upper room of President Young’s home, Cornelius had the privilege to clothe and pray with Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, Parley P. Pratt, George A. Smith, Ezra T. Benson, and Samuel W. Richards.241 Again, on the evening of April 2, in the same place, Lott met with Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, George A. Smith, Ezra T. Benson, and Thomas Bullock to pray.242 Chase’s Mill Lott not only took part in the organization of the State of Deseret, but also in the building of the new city. In May of 1850, Cornelius became involved in supervising the building of Utah’s first sawmill, Chase’s Mill, which was located in what is now Liberty Park.243 Lott’s Demise In the summer of 1850, Cornelius contracted a bowel disease that would soon take his life. A hired-hand on the Forest Dale Farm recalled, “I worked on the farm another summer and we raised about seven thousand bushels, and after the wheat and hay and other crops were cared for, our foreman, Cornelius P. Lott, dying, we were called up for a settlement, and adjudged $20
See Church History in the Fulness of Times, 342. Constitution of the State of Deseret, 13. 240 See Tanner, A Biographical Sketch of John Riggs Murdock, 102-103. Also see Lott, Descendants of Cornelius Peter Lott, 43. 241 See Samuel W. Richards, Diary of Samuel Whitney Richards, 1824-1909 (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Library, 1946), 87. 242 See Journal History, April 2, 1850. 243 See Journal History, May 25, 1850.
a month for our labor, and take flour at $10 per hundred for pay.”244 Alzina explained that her father had contracted dysentery “because the food was so course and poor, nothing we could do seemed to help him.”245 Finally, after a struggle with the illness, Cornelius P. Lott passed away on July 6, 1850, at the age of fifty-one.246 He was buried in the Salt Lake City cemetery “where a specially prepared red sandstone marker, the first of its kind was placed in his memory.”247 Since Lott had served as a member of the territorial senate, his passing left a vacancy. Hence, upon his death and the death of fellow-senator Newel K. Whitney, Governor Brigham Young appointed Apostles Charles C. Rich and Wilford Woodruff to take their place on December 4, 1850.248 For the next few months, Permelia continued to live in the Salt Lake Valley with her children, Permelia Jane, Alzina, Lyman, and Benjamin. Alzina recalled, “By the early spring of 1851 it became very clear that the absence of the father required new arrangements.”249 Since some of the Permelia’s married daughters had already moved to Lehi with their husbands, she soon decided to take her four children and move there as well. In Memory of Cornelius P. Lott Lott’s daughter, Alzina, recalled, “He was a very big man in the hearts and thoughts of his family and friends…”250 One of his most admirable attributes his loyalty to the leaders of the Church. One historian wrote, “‘Father Lott,’ as he was familiarly known in his family, was a man who evidently enjoyed the confidence of the Church leaders, as he was trusted both by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young with their leading farming operations.”251 May the words of Lott’s patriarchal blessing be fulfilled, when he received the pronouncement, “thy name shall be had in everlasting remembrance among the Saints for good; thy posterity shall continue to increase to all eternity….thou shalt be numbered with the 144,000, who are spoken of by John the Revelator to stand on Mt Zion in the last days, finaly thou shal enjoy all the blessings & glories of the Redeemer’s kingdom forever & ever, amen.” 252
Charles S. Hancock, Sr., A Short Sketch of the Hancock and Adams Families (n.p., 1890?), 47, Historical Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City. 245 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 11. 246 See Journal History, July 6, 1850. In the Lott family bible are penned the words, “Cornelius P Lott died July the 6th 1850 in the Great Salt City Aged 51 years 9 months and 9 days” (Lott Family Bible). The newspaper read, “Senator Cornelius P. Lott died this morning at 6 1-2 o’clock, aged 52 years” (Deseret Weekly News, 6 July 1850, 31). Hosea Stout noted, “C. P. Lott died last night of a long illness. He has been a member of this church nearly from its rise. He was commander of the Horse in Far-West at the time of the surrender in which corps I served” (Stout, On the Mormon Frontier, 373). Apostles George A. Smith and Ezra T. Benson, while speaking of Lott’s death, referred to him as “Bishop C. P. Lott” (Journal History, September 29, 1850, 2). However, he never actually served as a bishop (See Ronald G. Watt and Rachel Whitmore, LDS Bishop’s Directory 1848-1890 [n.p., n.d.], Historical Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City). 247 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 11. Also see Tanner, A Biographical Sketch of John Riggs Murdock, 106. 248 See Stout, On The Mormon Frontier, 384. Also see Journal History, December 5, 1850, 2. 249 Willes, “Personal History of Permelia Darrow Lott,” 2. 250 Willes, “Personal History of Cornelius P. Lott,” 11. 251 Tanner, A Biographical Sketch of John Riggs Murdock, 106-107. 252 John Smith, A Blessing by John Smith Patriarch upon the head of Cornelius P son of Peter & Jane Lott, born Septr 22d 1798 New York City, (vol. 9, p. 52, No. 166), Historical Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.
Timeline of the Life of Cornelius P. Lott
1798 Sep 22 Sep 27 Born at New York City Christened in the Reformed Dutch Church Pennsylvania Married at Bridgewater, PA Daughter Melissa was born at Tuckhannock, Luz, PA Son John Smiley was born at Springville, Luz, PA Daughter Mary Elizabeth was born at Susquehanna Co., PA Daughter Almira Henrietta was born at Bridgewater, PA Census: household of 6 at Bridgewater, PA Daughter Permelia Jane was born at Bridgewater, PA Daughter Alzina Lucinda was born at Tuckhannock, PA Joined the Church in Pennsyvania Kirtland, Ohio Disfellowshipped by Church leaders CPL wrote apology to Kirtland High Council Daughter Harriet Amanda was born Received elders licence Joined Kirtland Safety Society Paid $2 into Kirtland Safety Society Made purchases at Whitney Store Made purchases at Whitney Store Paid 50¢ into Kirtland Safety Society Anointed with oil in the Kirtland Temple Missouri Named a general in Independence Day festivities Quarried rock for the Far West Temple Visited Adam Black’s home Accompanied Joseph Smith to Black’s home Volunteered to serve a mission in Kentucky ( Present during Haun’s Mill Massacre Raided Taylor’s home & found weaponry Left Far West & went to Quincy, Illinois Pike County, Illinois Son Joseph Darrow born Farming in Pike Co., Illinois 54
1823 1824 1826 1827 1829 1830 1832 1834
April 27 Jan 9 Mar 23 Mar 9 Dec 15 Oct 2 Mar 4
1836 Mar 8 Mar 23 Mar 30 Aug 6 1837 Jan 2 Jan 5 Feb 17 Mar 7 Mar 10 Mar 31
1838 July 4 July Aug 8 Oct 6 Oct 30 Oct-Nov 1839 Jan 22
1840 Feb 18
Oct. 12 1841 Mar 8
Signed a certificate for Richard Woolsey in the Vandalia Branch Indicted in MO for horse stealing
Nauvoo, Illinois Joseph Smith dined with the Lotts Joseph Smith dined with the Lotts Son Peter Lyman born Joseph Smith dined with the Lotts Eliza R. Snow & others visited Lott’s Malissa married Joseph Smith Cornelius & Permelia married for time & eternity Received his endowment in Red Brick Store Permelia administered to by Emma Smith Joseph Smith taught a sermon at Lott home Receieved 2nd Anointing Listed party of Council of Fifty Accompanied Joseph Smith to Carthage Joseph Smith’s last farewell the Lotts Clayton & others took invoice of Smith farm Present when Brigham was transfigured Lott’s name on list of Anointed Quorum Son Cornelius Carlos born Attended dedication of Nauvoo Temple attic Cornelius Carlos died Accompanied Clayton to the Farrs Cornelius ordained High Priest Met with Council of Fifty Received 2nd Patriarchal Blessing Rejected daughter’s suitor James Monroe May 21-July 10 Bought several pairs of shoes from Jonathon Holmes Sep 17 5th Regiment set guard near Lotts Sep 21 Post guard set up near Lotts Sep 24 Brought letter from NKW for discharged brethren Sep 30 Appointed to select a company to go west Nov 30 Present when Brigham dedicated attic of temple Dec 7 Met in temple with the Anointed Quorum Dec 11 Cornelius & Permelia received endowment 1846 Jan 22 Sealed in Nauvoo Temple Jan 22 CPL entered plural marriage w/ Rebecca Faucett Jan 22 CPL entered plural marriage w/ Charity Dickinson Jan 22 CPL entered plural marriage w/ Elizabeth Davis Feb 4 Samuel Rogers got wheat from Lott Feb 7 CPL entered plural marriage w/ Jane Rogers Feb 11 S. Rogers & M. Lott: conditional contract marriage Feb 25 Took women & children across River Feb 27 Took Emmeline Wells & others in carriage 1842 June 6 July 16 Nov 2 1843 Jan 27 June 29 Sept 20 Sept 20 Dec 9 Dec 23 1844 Jan 7 Feb 4 Apr 18 May 27 June 24 Aug 7 Aug 8 Sep 3 Sep 30 Nov 30 1845 Jan 6 Jan 14 Jan 22 Mar 1 Mar 20 May 29
Feb 27 Apr 22 June 28 July 5 July 12 July 17 July 17 July 22 July 30
Iowa Trail Whitney family joined camp in charge of Lott Whitney traded Lott’s horses for Durphy’s oxen CPL on “this side of Pisgah” Met with Brigham Brigham dined with Lott family at Keg Creek, Iowa Brigham instructed CPL to take cattle up the river BY & CPL & others went to find a location at Kanesville, Iowa CPL instructed to take flocks to Grand Island Brought considerable Church property over the Missouri River Winter Quarters CPL appointed to the Municipal High Council CPL appointed to gather & be in charge of cattle Brigham visited with Cornelius CPL appointed to buy & sell beef Agreed to put cattle under care of Lott & others Bird & Lott to use discretion in controlling bucks CPL volunteered to care for Woodworth family Eliza Lyman dined with Lotts (baked goose) Voted Lott could herd his cattle with the Church’s Lott family to join with Stouts? (Garden Grove) Elizabeth P. Lyman & family visited Lotts (Winter Quarters) Brigham in council related a dream CPL appointed to ascertain situation of property CPL had large number of the brethren’s sheep Lott gave a sermon with Brigham Young Lott given $100 for compensation for his work B. Young wrote to CPL to return home for weather D&C 136 read to High Council – CPL sustained Eliza R. Snow stayed with the Lotts Bro. Markham visited with the Lotts CPL w/ two others gave a blessing to Job Smith Lott married to Eleanor Wayman & Phoebe Knight Lott sustained as high councilor Gave Orson Whitney a blessing Lott & others appointed to meet with Big Elk Lott came to protect herds & gave news at Summer Quarters Eliza Lyman borrowed a wheel from Lotts to spin CPL appointed to committee to handle strays CPL & Hosea Stout sat in council with Young Elk CPL & others buried Weatherby CPL accompanied others on Elkhorn River CPL started for Missouri in company with others (Oregon, MO) Harriet Amanda died
Aug 7 Aug 17 Aug 21 Aug 27 Sep 1 Sep 5 Sep 9 Sep 21 Sep 22 Oct 23 Oct 23 Nov 6 Nov 18 Nov 21 Dec 13 Dec 19 1847 Jan 8 Jan 16 Feb 2 Feb 3 Feb Mar 30 Apr 6 Apr 8 Apr 19 Apr 24 May 13 May 20 May 25 June 20 June 21 June 30 Oct 5
Oct 15 1848 Feb 10 Feb 16
Joseph Darrow died Spent day with BY & WW in Historian’s office Stout procured another cow from Lott for tax Crossing the Plains Left for Salt Lake Valley Made it to “the Horn” Lott chosen Captain of the Herd
Summer June 6 Jun 18
Salt Lake Valley Sep 23 Entered the Salt Lake Valley Nov 12 Mary Elizabeth married Abraham Losee Nov 18 (16?) Son Benjamin Smith born Dec Lott put on committee to herd cattle Dec 24 Extermination against ravens, hawks, owls, etc. 1849 Jan 7 CPL met with D. Sessions who was disfellowshiped Feb 17 CPL gave input on weights & measure system Mar 3 CPL prayed at Council of Fifty meeting Spring In charge of Forest Dale Farm May 10 Visited by B. Young & given instructions May 13 Malissa married Ira Willes June 3 Lott & WW Phelps addressed congregation June 27 Eliza R. Snow rode with the Lotts July 2 Territorial Senate organized – Lott chosen as one July 3 Appointed to notify Lt. Gov. of organization Nov 13 (12?) Almira Henrietta married John Riggs Murdock 1850 Feb 26 Apr 2 Apr 26 May 25 Jul 6 Prayed in B. Young’s upper room w/ brethren Prayed in B. Young’s upper room w/ brethren Due bill on Lott – 5 bushels of wheat: $15.00 Left Big Canyon Creek & went to Chase’s Mill Died of a bowel disease
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