Edson Whipple, son of John and Basmath Hutchens Whipple,
grand son of Timothy and Elizabeth Safford Whipple, born
in the town of Dunmerston, County of Wyndam, State of
Vermont, Feb. 5th, 1805, baptized by Elder Benjamin
Winchester in Philadelphia, June 15th, 1840, confirmed by
Lorenzo Barnes, ordained a Presiding Priest by Pres. Orson
Hyde Oct. 17th, 1840, ordained an High Priest and first
counselor to Elder B. Winchester in Philadlephia by
Pres. Hyrum Smith April 6th, 1841. Removed to Nauvoo
Sept. 1842. I was called at the general conference in
April, 1844, to go on a mission in company with David
D. Yearsley to the State of Pennsylvania to canvass the
State and present to the people Joseph Smith's views on
government and he for a candidate for the next President
of the United States. Left Nauvoo the 4th of May, returned
in November following. While away the Prophet Joseph was
martyred. At the first meeting after my return I saw the
mantle of Joseph Smith rest upon Brigham Young while he
spoke to the people. I assisted in building up the City
and Temple and defending our homes against the mob. Was
present at the laying of the capstone of the Temple and
received my endowments in it when finished. And during the
winter of 1845 worked under Capt. Charles C. Rich at
making wagons being organized in his ten. In the spring of
1846, May 15th crossed the Mississippi River on my way to
the Rocky Mountains (This valley of the Great Salt Lake)
with my family of four, myself, wife, Mother and one
child. Stopped at Garden Grove two weeks, and then rolled
out for Council Bluffs, overtook Bishop Hales Company and
traveled with them; arrived at the Bluffs about the middle
of July. While traveling we met Pres. Brigham Young
returning from the Bluffs to Pisgah. He informed us that
the government had made a demand upon the Latter-day
Saints for five hundred men to enlist as volunteers to go
to Mexico, and said we should respond.
After arriving at the Bluffs, as we were counseled,
myself and family in company with several other families
looked out for a place, some 25 or 30 mines below the
Bluffs down the river where we thought of wintering on
Pony Creek. We prepared for the winter but found after
remaining there until the 1st of November, it was so
sickly, had to move. While stopping there myself and
family were all sick, and on the 9th of Sept. my Mother
died, and three days after my wife died also, and at the
same time myself and child were both very sick. The whole
camp, some 14 families were all but two persons sick and
dying off. While there we buried some whole
families. After our removal to another place, some 4 miles
(on the 8th of December) my little girl died (22 months
old) and was taken to the place where her mother and
grandmother were buried, and they lay buried side by side
in coffins made of plank split off of the basswood
tree. Being driven from our comfortable homes from Nauvoo
exposed as we were to heat and storms and the comforts of
life by a ruthless mob, they died martyrs to the cause of
Christ and in the Resurrection will receive a martyrs
In the spring of 1847 I was called in company with 142
more and organized as a Pioneer Company to lead the way
into the wilderness. I left Winter Quarters on the 9th of
April, traveled in the first ten of the second division
under Capt. Appleton Harmon; in which Pres. Heber
C. Kimball traveled. I was one of the guards selected to
guard the camp taking my turn every third night, half of
After arriving at Salt Lake when the Pioneers returned, I
remained and took charge of the property left by the
Pioneers, and all of Bro. Kimball's family and effects
that came up in the company that followed the Pioneers;
having buried all my family on the road, I farmed for him
the first year, raised some four hundred bushels of grain
for him. I was a member of the First High Council
organized in Salt Lake City. The second year after the
emigration arrived on the 13th day of October, 1846
[1848?], I started in company with eleven more to go back
to the States on business for myself and for the
discharged soldiers. While I was in the States, Elder
Woodruff was sent back to the States with an epistle on
the Twelve to gather out the Saints from the East. I was
called by a written epistle from him to assist him in
visiting the Saints and to help in the gathering. I had
been laboring in Maryland and had baptized and organized a
Branch of sixteen members. I visited Brother Woodruff in
Boston and was requested to cross the Plains in his
company in the early part of June 1850. I met him at
Bethlehem at the crossing of the Missouri River where his
company was organized with captains of tens and fifties
and of hundreds. He appointed me captain of fifty. Each
fifty traveled separate, but sometimes we camped together
Capt. Leonard Hardy had charge of the first fifty in
which Brother Woodruff started. I had a blacksmith in my
company and when we arrived at Ash Hollow, he having ten
wagons loaded with merchandise and machinery which
required being repaired, he moved them and his family into
my fifty and traveled with me the rest of the way. We
arrived in Salt Lake the 13th of Oct. 1850. I had been
absent just two years from the time I left. Soon after I
arrived I married having been single from the time I
buried my wife in Pottawattamie in 1847.
I was then called to go with G.A. Smith to settle Iron
County. Left Salt Lake on the 9th of Dec. 101 wagons in
all. We arrived at the place where Parowan is now located
on the 14th of January. In organizing Iron County
G.A. Smith was appointed Judge of the County Court and it
required two associates at that time to make a full
bench. I was his first associate in our military
organization. I was elected captain over the company
called the Home Guards. G.A. requested us to present plans
for laying off our fort and for the plan of locating our
houses. Several of the company presented and I presented
my plan which was accepted and adopted, and Parowan was
built up according to it.
George Brimhall and myself built a thrasher and a water
power, getting a grant from the city council to use the
water of the creek. We threshed the first crop raised. I
was a member of the city council in May, 1851. President
Young and company made us a visit and while there
Pres. H.C. Kimball counseled me saying after the Mission
was established to return to Provo.
John Whipple, Edson's father died in West Dummerston,
Windham, Co., Vermont and is buried in the graveyard
nearby where he died. His gravestone is white marble with
the following inscription on it: Blessed are the dead who
die in the Lord. He has two daughters and one son buried
on the north by his side, Betsey, Maria and Edson, his
sister Zipporah and her husband; they lay buried in the
same tier. He [John] has one daughter and her husband
buried in Newfane, near Williamsville, Laura, her husbands
name, Daniel Aldrich, who was the husband of Betsey, also
these lived and died in Vermont. John, his oldest son died
in McKein County (Bradford) Penn. John's wife died in the
same place. Simmis [i.e. Dimmis] and her husband died in
Otsego County (Milford) N.Y. Alfred died in Chautauqua
Co. (Climer) N.Y. Samuel died in Wisc. Emeline and her
husband died in Boston, Mass., buried in Wakefield,
Basmath Hutchens, the wife of John Whipple who was the
mother of Edson, died in 1847, and is buried some
twenty-five miles below Omaha, where Edson's first wife
Lavinnia Goss and her daughter are buried side by
side. The mother died on the 9th of Sept., Lavinnia on the
13th and the little girl who was some twenty-two months
old died on the 8th of Dec. the same year, the year we
left Nauvoo on the way to the mountains. This item of
history written by Edson that now lives Dec. 22, 1872.
After burying my mother, wife and child, the next spring
I was called to go with the Pioneers to the mountains. I
left Winter Quarters the 9th day of April, arrived in
S.L. Valley July the 22nd. The company which numbered 143
when within about 60 miles of S.L. was divided owing to
the sickness in camp and Willard Richards started with
about one third of the company and the second day after
G.A. Smith started with about one half of the company that
had been left. I went with his company. We overtook the
first company some seven miles before they reached Salt
Lake Valley. And the next day about four or five o'clock
we camped in the Valley on what is called East Canyon
Creek. The next morning we move and camped on City
Creek. And the second day after President Young arrived
with the rest of the company it being July 24, 1847. We
had with us ploughs and harrows and we soon commenced to
use them but found that the land had got to be watered
before we could plow. We appointed a man, one of our
number by the name of Walsey to be our watermaster. We
watered from fifty to seventy five acres and plowed it and
planted a variety of seeds with came up and grew rapidly,
but owing to the lateness of the season but little
matured. In a few days after our arrival, a company of the
Mormon Battalion arrived which had wintered at Santa
Fe. The largest half of the Pioneer company returned the
same season to Winter Quarters where we had left the April
- Dec. 8th Sunday, 1850.
- Wagon and team all ready for starting for Iron County. Rolled out in front
of Sister Eastman's house.
- Monday, 9th.
- Rolled out 9 miles to Brother McKineys.
- Tuesday, 10th.
- Overhauled my load and left some part of it with Br. McKiney.
- Wednesday, 11th.
- Went for my flour and seed wheat over to Br. Holladays.
- Thursday, 12th.
- Rolled out and fell in company with G.A. Smith. Camped near Willow Creek.
- Friday, 13th.
- Rolled on, crossed over the mountains to the Utah Valley in company with 9
wagons. Camped on Dry Creek where we overtook some six or eight more wagons,
John D. Lee and others.
- Saturday, 14th.
- Rolled on, crossed the American Fork, took the left hand road, camped on a
small creek by a small settlement where Louis Robinson kept his herd.
- Sunday, 15th.
- Crossed over to the right hand road and camped on the Provo in company
with some 60 or more wagons. Called a meeting in the evening, organized our
company in a traveling and military capacity. The names of the officers I
shall give hereafter.
- Monday, 16th.
- This morning several of us went to Thomas Williams herd to buy oxen and
cows. We get 13 head. I bought one pair of oxen for 85 dollars. We rolled on
about 12 o'clock and passed the Utah Fort. I left one pair of my oxen that
were too poor to go through with Eeller Williams to keep till I returned or
sent for them. Camped on Hobble Creek
- Tuesday, 17th.
- This morning some of our cattle were missing, but we found them all but
one cow of mine. I gave William Miller a description of her, requested him
if he found her to send her to me the first chance. We started about 11. It
soon commenced snowing and continued to do so until about 2 o'clock. We
camped after crossing on the Spanish Fork, 60 miles from the G.S.L. City,
hereafter camping. I counted 85 wagons and several more expected to join us
- Wednesday, 18th.
- This morning it continued snowing early; it broke away about 8. We rolled
out but found bad roads, the snow melting made a plenty of mud. We passed
through a low web bottom; many of the teams stalled; several had to double.
We camped about 3 on the Peteetneet near the last settlement in the Utah
Valley, and here we expect to stop for one day for the rest of the company
to come up. Some have been detained on the account of storm, others have
stopped back for fear they might have to lay in camp a day or two. The
settlement on this creek only consists of some 4 or 5 families, Brother Pace
Stewart and others. George A. together are busily engaged in making out the
reports to send back to the First Presidency. We are preparing to organize 4
militarist companies, 2 to consist of 30 men each, one to be mounted men and
the other to be foot company, to be as minute men, and two more, one to
consist of twelve men to man a small piece of artillery, which we have along
with us, the other to be a home protection to consist of old men and boys.
- Thursday, 19th.
- Pleasant this morning. We are laying by according to our expectation.
Completed our organization. Three more wagons have arrived in camp. Several
more are expected this evening. Today I called on Bro. James Lewis in behalf
of Sister Holman for balance due her on the adobies contract. Brother G.A.
Smith decided he should give her fifteen dollars and seventeen cents. Lewis
got Brother Joseph Horne to buy a piece of land of him on the west side of
the Jordan and Horne gave her his note for the amount. We drove up our
cattle this morning and gathered them this evening. We called out our
Battalion and inspected their arms and elected G.A. Smith Major. Received
his thanks and blessings if the thing was commattable [sic] he would treat
the company. He named the Battalion the Iron Battalion, and it was
unanimously received by all. I wrote two letters, one to Sister Holman, one
to Sister Eastman. My teams and effects consist of in all that I have with
me, myself and family, Mary Ann and Harriet Whipple, and Benjamin Hultz with
his wagon and one yoke of oxen fitted out by me with seed and provisions. I
am to give him 15 dollars for the use of his oxen, he is to work for me one
half of the time for his fitout. My provisions consist of 18.00 lbs of flour
and 2.00 lbs Indian meal, one hundred lbs of meat, 7 1/2 bushels of seed
wheat, 6 quarts of barley, 1/2 peck potatoes, 12 quarts of peas, a little
seed corn, and a variety of garden seeds, one bushel of beets, one of
onions, 25 lbs. rice, 20 lbs. sugar, 50 of coffee, 1 1/2 gls. molasses, 35
lbs. salt, 2 1/2 lbs. tea, 1 peck dried peaches, 1 wagon of my own, 1 of Br.
Hultze's, 6 oxen of my own, 2 of Hultze, 4 cows, 3 left behind, and one yoke
of oxen left behind, 4 chidkens, 1 cook stove, 1 spade, 1 shovel, 1 scythe,
1 hoe, 2 aces, 3 augers, 1 set of bitts, 14 lites of glass, 8 lbs. nails, 25
lbs. soap, 1 side of upper, 1 of sole leather, 1 calf skin, 2 guns, 4 lbs.
powder, 6 of lead, 5 of shot, 5 thousand of caps, 4 chains, 1 sickle.
- Friday, 20th.
- No more wagons arrived. It is rumored in camp that Frost, Harper, Hancock
and other are staying back to keep clear from the organization, but as to
this matter we do not know. We sent back a man to the Spanish Fork to see if
they are there. The camp rolled out about 10, the ground being frozen makes
good wheeling. We crossed one small creek and traveled about 6 miles and
camped on Summit Creek, the snow being several inches deep, but about 1/2
mile down the creek not much snow, and feed good. G.A. Smith and J.D. Lee
stopt back to find out the cause why the rest of the wagons did not come up
and to complete the organization ready to return to headquarters. Bro. Elias
Gardner started with us for the purpose of going through to the Sanpete
Valley but for the want of teams he was obliged to stop at Fort Peteetneet.
- Saturday, 21st.
- This morning many of the camp were up before daylight preparing for an
early start, and Capt. Call got through with his breakfast a little after
sunrise and called for four men out of each ten to drive up the cattle and
we were ready to roll out about 9. We found the snow increasing in depth
until we got to the\e top of the divide ridge between the place of our
starting and the creek we camped on, the roads good but slippery owing to
the snow. We crossed one small creek, passed one large spring, traveled 12
miles and camped about half past three on Willow Creek, the snow about 4 or
5 inches deep. A small creek and a few willows here. We expect to stay until
Monday. G.A. Smith, J.D. Lee and Br. Lunt came up with us just as we camped,
reported 11 wagons behind, and that Br. Levi Hancock stopped back at Utah
Fort for the want of more teams. G.A. brought news received by two and an
Indian from Sanpete that the Indians had robbed and killed a company of gold
diggers on the way to the mines just beyond the Little Salt Lake and also a
company of Spaniards with some seven thousand sheep. This night we, for the
first, placed out our guard, two at a time to be relieved every two hours.
This morning just as the camp was starting, Br. Wm. Jones and Br. Hall
turned their teams back, crossed the creek, but Jones concluded he would not
go back and he turned the team back again, but Hall put for the city.
- Sunday, 22nd.
- This morning cold and cloudy. The thermometer stood at 17 and 12 at noon
24 and in the evening 18. We started about 9 owing to the scarcity of wood
we thought best to travel, the roads good the country beautiful, the cedars
covering the sides of the mountains, the tops covered with fir of pine. We
traveled 11 miles and camped on Salt Creek about half past one; good feed,
the snow about 3 inches deep. The camp was called together for meeting about
3 and our President made a few remarks suited to the condition and appointed
James Lewis, clerk of the meetings. The President having received
instructions from President Young to build a bridge across Salt Creek,
appointed Tarlton Lewis and myself to select a place for it. We did so and
in the evening the boys drawed three sleepers and placed them and the men
with horse teams proposed to stop in the morning and cover it, and then roll
on and overtake the company. Here we leave the road that goes to the Sanpete
Valley. We are now one hundred miles on our way and forth miles from the
Sanpete, the Sanpete road turns up the Salt Creek Canyon.
- Monday, 23rd.
- This morning, the thermometer stood 16 above zero; about noon the sun
shone out and the mercury rose to 46. Our roads good all day; found little
more snow some of the way, but where we camped at night not [illegible] of
the road, no wood without going to the mountain. We are within a short
distance of the mountain that separates us from the Sevier. We started about
half past nine and camped about four. We corralled all the horses tonight
and kept a guard with the cattle. We see not far off the smoke of the
Indians' camp. We expect to find some of our oxen pretty stiff in the
morning, owing to it being so slippery our camp did not observe good order.
The first ten in the first division traveled in rear of the first division;
and the second division started last. But G.A. teams being hindered about 5
minutes, some of the second division drove past by striking out and the
whole division followed with the exception of T> Lewis' ten. Found no
water in this drive.
- Tuesday, 24th
- This morning about half past five the horn sounded to wake up the camp. I
arose soon and built a fire in the stove in my wagon which I had arranged
for cooking before I left the city. After thawing out and putting on my
boots I got out of my wagon and found during the night the snow had fell
about 3 inches deep. It was a little cloudy and the thermometer stood at 10.
After preparing wood and water I took my gun and traversed the sage brush in
search of rabbits, but found none, but lost my pocket handkerchief,
returned, got my breakfast, assisted in driving up the cattle and rolled out
about 10. The second division went before, and our pilot instead of taking
the old road that led along close to the right hand bluff, he took us still
farther at the left with a circle round a big swamp and come to our old road
in about 2 hours after traveling some 4 or 5 miles on the dividing ridge
between the _____ Valley and the Sevier River after passing over the
mountains we passed over a rolling valley found the road a little hilly.
After traveling some twelve or fourteen miles we came to the Sevier River.
We passed over the side of the mountain, the road very sideling and rough
and a little steep. We camped on a small bottom about sundown after
traveling some fifteen miles. One of my oxen gave out about 1 mile before
camping. We are camped this evening in sight of the Indians fires. The
wagons behind hove in sight while we were on top of the mountains. The
mercury sank this morning to 6n above zero.
- Wednesday, 25th
- This morning the thermometer stood 12 degrees below zero. Our cattle were
covered with a white frost and were not inclined to feed. We yoked up about
11, commenced crossing the river, some of the horse teams crossed first, and
then the first division crossed over, and before all was over it was after
sundown owing to it being bad getting out and the bad hill, it was short but
steep and slippery. We camped on the opposite side; the 11 wagons behind
came to the camping ground that we left. Our wood was mostly sage brush. On
both sides we find it most impossible to get along, our cattle not being
shod, it being slippery. I spent a portion of the day and evening in reading
the secret debates and proceedings of the convention of 1776.
- Thursday, 26th
- This morning the thermometer stood 18 degrees below zero. Our cattle
suffered much; we3 drove them up about ten calculating to roll on 5 or 6
miles, but one pair of G.A. Smith's were missing. On searching we found
their tracks breaking for the bluffs with two moccasin tracks, one each
side. We soon dispatched Fullmer with some 25 men in pursuit of them. One
man soon returned with word that they had found the oxen badly wounded with
arrows, but the Indians escaped. The company were directed to follow them
and Capt. Little with 17 of his company were ordered out. The horsemen soon
found that the Indians had crossed the river; they pursued them for several
miles and took two prisoners, brought them into camp and kept them till
morning, and Brother Empey took the boy and let the old one go. The oxen
were driven into camp and during the night the one died having five arrows
pulled out of him and several more wounds; one still lives. Owing to the
oxen being gone we turned out our teams, remained over night.
- Friday, 27th
- This morning the weather much warmer, thermometer stood at 6 below zero.
We rolled out about 10, traveled some nine miles, rolled over a mountain and
camped in a small valley, good feed and no water. We found the snow about 8
inches deep. The camp was called together in the evening and Pres. Smith
gave some direction respecting guarding and traveling.
- Saturday, 28th
- This morning the thermometer stood 12 above zero, quite pleasant with the
exception a little cloudy. We rolled out early in about three miles and came
to a mountain, passed up a canyon, found the snow one foot deep, one bad
hill it being very sidling. We found heave roads for three miles or more and
then we came to the summit. We rolled down the mountain come two miles found
the snow deep or deeper than on the other side. We found no water and the
feed covered with snow, and a plenty of wood, the fires built, the kettle
prepared and all hands melting snow for the cattle. The second fifty broke
one wagon and stopped on the top of the ______________. Some of the horse
teams went on to water and one ten of the ox teams, the women what few there
were along were obliged to walk up the mountain, some with a child in their
arms through the snow, some I saw with their husbands boots on. Several of
our cattle gave out and we left some by the way and went for them after camping.
I put the big boiler on the stove, kept the snow a melting for my cattle all
day. The two Johnson boys cached at the foot of the mountain a part of their
loads what iron they had.
- Sunday, 29th.
- Pleasant and some warmer. The call was made at 6 o'clock for the camp to
arise, yoke up and roll out to water. We started about sunrise, drove some 7
miles to Cedar Springs and camped about 12 1/2 twelve; good water and wood
and feed a plenty. Left on the way one ox died and worn down the hard work
and it was all I could do to get one of my cows to the camp. After eating my
dinner I went to Br. G.A. and got his journal for the purpose of drawing
from it the same totals of the returns of this camp to Iron County which I
entered in my journal, which is as follows: