Autobiography of Margaret Foutz
Daughter of David and Mary Munn, born Dec. 11, 1801, Franklin County, Pennsylvania
PLEASANT GROVE CITY
DEC. 28, 1876
I was married to Jacob Foutz July 22, 1822. In the year 1827 we emigrated to Richland Co., Ohio. After living here a few years and Elder by the name of David Evans came into the neighborhood preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, commonly called Mormonism. We united ourselves with the Church being baptized by Brother Evans in the year 1834.
Subsequently we took our departure for Missouri together with the saints. We purchased some land to make a permanent home on Crooked River, where a small branch of the Church was organized, David Evans being the President.
We enjoyed ourselves exceedingly well and everything seemed to prosper but the spirit of persecution began to make itself manifest. Falsehoods were circulated about the Mormon population that were settling about that region, and there soon began to be signs of troubles. The brethren, in order to protect their families, organized themselves together. Threats being made by the mob to destroy a mill belonging to Brother Haun, it was considered best to have a few men continually at the mill to protect it.
One day Brother Evans went and had an interview with a Mr. Comstock, said to be the head man of the job, all things were amicably adjusted. Bro. Evans then went to inform the brethren (my husband being among them) that all was well (this was about the middle of the afternoon, when Bro. Evans started from Mr. Comstock), when on a sudden without any warning whatever, sixty or seventy men with blackened faces came riding their horses at full speed. The brethren ran for protection into an old log blacksmith shop. Being without arms, the mob rode up to the shop and without any explanation or apparent cause, began a wholesale butchery by firing round after round thru the crack that was made between the logs of the shop. I was at home with my little family of five children, and could hear the firing of guns. In a moment I knew the mob was upon us. Soon a runner came telling the women and children to hasten into the timber and secrete themselves, which we did without taking anything to keep us warm. And had we been fleeing from the scalping knife of the Indian we would not have made greater haste, and as we went we finally numbered about forty or fifty women and children. We ran about three miles into the woods and there huddled together spreading what few blankets or shawls, chance only had thrown in our path, on the ground for the children, and here we remained until two o’clock next morning before we heard anything of the result of the firing at the mill. Who can imagine our feelings during this dreadful suspense. And, when the news did come, Oh what terrible news; Fathers, Husbands, Brothers, and Sons, inhumanly butchered.
We now took up the line of march for home. Alas, what a home. Who would we find there, and now with our minds full of the most fearful forebodings we retraced those dreary long miles. As we were returning I saw a Brother Myers, who had been shot through his body. In that dreadful state he crawled on his hands and knees about two miles to his house. After I arrived at my house with my children I then made a fire and we warmed ourselves. We then started for the mill, which was over one mile from our house. My children said, “If Father and Mother are going to be killed we want to be with them.” The first house I came to there were three dead men, one a Brother McBride. I was told he was one of the survivors of the Revolution. He was a horrible sight to see, having been cut and chopped and terribly mangled with a corn cutter.
I hurried on to find my husband. I found him in an old house covered with rubbish. The mob had taken the bedding and clothing from all the houses that were near the mill. My husband was shot in the thigh. I rendered him all the aid that I could, but it was evening before I could get him home. I saw thirteen more dead bodies at the shop, and witnessed the beginning of the burial, which consisted in throwing the bodies into an old dry well. So great was the fear of the men that the mob would return and kill what few men that were left that they threw the bodies in head first or feet first as the case might be. When they threw in three my heart sickened and I could not stand it more. I turned away to keep from fainting. My husband and another brother drew dead bodies on themselves and pretended to be dead and by so doing saved their lives and heard what the mob said. After the firing was over, two little boys that were in the shop begged for their lives, but no they said D-m them, they will make Mormons and put the muzzle of their guns to their heads and blew their brains out.
What a change one short day had brought! Here were my friends dead and dying. One in particular asked me to give him relief by taking a hammer and knock his brains, so great was his agony from his wounds, and we knew not what moment our enemies would be upon us, and all this not because we had broken any of the laws, on the contrary, it was a part of our religion to keep the laws of the land.
In the evening Brother Evans got a team and conveyed my husband to his house, carried him in and placed him on the bed. I then attended to my husband alone without any doctor or anyone to tell me what to do for him. Six days after I and my husband, together, extracted the bullet, it being furied deep in the thick part of the thigh and flattened like a knife.
During the first ten days, the mob came every day with blackened faces, more like demons from the infernal pit, than like human beings, cursing and swearing that they would kill the d-m old Mormon preacher. And, at times like these, when human nature would quail I have felt the power of God upon me to that degree that I have stood before them fearless, and although a woman and alone, these Demons in human shape, had to succumb for there was a power they knew not of. During these days of danger I would sometimes hide my husband, out in the woods, and cover him with leaves. And, then again in the house, and thus during my husband’s illness was a harassed by mobocratic violence.
The mob finally left us with an understanding that we should leave in the spring. About the middle of February we started for Quincy, Ill., arriving there we tarried for a short time, thence moved to Nauvoo, passed through all the vicissitudes that we as a people endured, felling deeply the loss of our Prophet and Patriarch, who were slain in Carthage Jail, and finally having to leave our beautiful city and seek a home in the basin of the Rocky Mountains.
In the spring of 1847 we journeyed on, after the pioneers, arriving in the fall of the year, assisting too in making the first improvements in what is now known as Salt Lake City.
On the 14th of February my companion departed this life, an event which seemed to cut my very heart strings, in this sterile land, with a family of nine on my hands and him on whom I had leaned, to be taken away, made me feel indeed lonely, but the good spirit came upon me in my affliction to bind up the broken heart.
My husband was a man of great faith, and many times sickness has yielded even the knitting of broken bones in our family through prayer and administration of hands. I bear testimony that this work commonly called Mormonism is true, and I heave this as my testimony to my children and to my children’s children, and to all that may read my autobiography, that this is the work of the Lord.
I will chronicle one miracle that took place in my home. My husband took very sick, also a young man that lived at our house, and my oldest child had been sick about ten days, in fact, it was so bad that he had become speechless. I sent for an Elder, Bro. J. Carts, and another Elder came with him, and they administered to each of them, and then called upon them in the name of the Lord to arise from their beds and be made whole; they did so and I got them something to eat, of which they partook and they were instantaneously healed by the power of God, his servants officiating in the Priesthood which they had received.
I am now in my seventy-sixth year; the mother of twelve children, fifty-two grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren; have witnessed the growth of our American Government under that inspired document the Constitution of the United States, and have rejoiced under the wise administration of pure and good laws and also have I witnessed law set at defiance, and mobocratic violence run rampant; Yea. verily, when the wicked rule the people mourn.
How near the hour glass of my time is run, I cannot say. But one thing I can say, I have ever been true to the laws of my country, true to my Lord and His holy cause, true to my companion, and expect ere long to meet him in the glorious resurrection of the just, when nothing shall hurt or mar in all the holy mountains, where we can build and inhabit and enjoy the society or our children and our children’s children unmolested, where pain and death shall have no reign, and sorrow is done away; which is the earnest desire of my heart in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.