Life of John Pack
Frederick J. Pack (son through Mary Jane Walker)
October 22, 1937
(taken from “Temple Record and Life of John Pack microfilm #0000027)
John Pack, son of George Pack and Phylotte Green, was born in the town of Saint John, New Brunswick, May 20, 1809. Both of his parents came from American colonial stock, his father having been born in New Jersey and his mother in Rhode Island. On his fraternal side he is a descendant of one George Pack who lived at Elizabeth Town, New Jersey, at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The ancestral Greens, on the other hand, lived at East Greenwich, Rhode Island, and belonged to the same family as General Nathaniel Green of Revolutionary fame.
The removal of these two families from the United States to Canada was a direct outgrowth of the American Revolution. It is well know, of course, that the outbreak of this long and cruel war found not all of the Colonists antagonistic to the British rule. Indeed, very large numbers of them remained loyal to the parent government and actually took up arms in its defence. Many of the most ruthless battles of the entire war were fought between the colonists who remained loyal to the English government and those who sought to free themselves from it.
At the outbreak of hostilities many of the Loyalists preferred to migrate to Canada, rather than to remain and become embroiled in the conflict. At the close of the war, however, the exodus was even more pronounced, for after the Loyalists had fought and lost, their presence in the Colonies was scarcely tolerable. It is estimated that because of the reprisals that followed the war, fully three hundred thousand British sympathizers migrated to Canada.
According to family tradition George Pack, father of John Pack, was left an orphan at the age of about five years, and was “bound out” to a certain Stephen Kent, who, at the close of the war, moved to the Loyalist colony at Saint John, New Brunswick, and, of course, took the boy, then thirteen years of age, with him. It sounds almost like fiction to record that Rufus Green, father of Phylotte Green, also moved to Saint John, from East Greenwich, he too being a Tory.
At that time Saint John was scarcely more than a small settlement, having been established by the English some twenty years earlier. But with the arrival of Loyalists from the American colonies in 1783, it soon became a flourishing community and received a city charter two years later.
Saint John, now (1937) the largest city in New Brunswick is situated at the mouth of the Saint John River, on the shores of the Bay of Fandy, five hundred fifty miles north and slightly east from Boston. It has an excellent harbor, the elevation of which varies some thirty feet between high and low tides.
The Saint John River, the longest in New Brunswick, has its source in the highlands of northern Maine, and, after following a course of nearly four hundred miles through a heavily wooded region, enters the Bay of Fundy. It is navigable to smaller boats throughout the major part of its lower course. It is little wonder, therefore, that the early settlers turned to the fishing and lumbering industries. Agriculture was also locally developed.
George Pack and Phylotte Green were married at Saint John about 1790. They were parents to the following named children, all born at Saint John:
Margaret Pack born 1792 died 1836
George Pack born 1794 died 1887
Sarah Pack born 1790 died 1831
Nancy Pack born 1798 died – –
Phoebe Pack born 1800 died 1875
Rufus Pack born 1803 died 1869
Mary Pack born 1805 died 1875
Harriet Pack born 1807 died 1884
John Pack born 1809 died 1885
Caleb Pack born 1811 died 1839
Eleanor Pack born 1815 died – –
James Benjamin Pack born 1817 died 1884
The precise nature of the work in which George Pack and his family were engaged while at Saint John is not known. Some time after the birth of their last child, they returned to the United States, stopping first at Rutland, New York, and later at Hounsfield, three miles west of Watertown, where the family settled on a farm.
Watertown is situated in Jefferson County, New York, on the Black River, ten miles from its entrance into Black Bay, and arm of Lake Ontario. The river has a fall of more than a hundred feet within the city limits, and therefore lends itself to a variety of manufactures, which now line both of its banks for several miles. Paper an lumber mills are abundant. Watertown is also the center of a rich agricultural region. The country also ranks high in dairy products. Hounsfield is an attractive farming community, almost within the suburbs of Watertown. Here on a farm at Hounsfield George Pack and his family made their home.
On the tenth of October, 1832, John Pack, ninth child of George Pack and Phylotte Green, married Julia Ives, daughter of Erastus Ives and Lucy Paine Ives, at Watertown, New York. Later he purchased the homestead from his father, and as a part of the transaction assumed the responsibility of caring for his parents during the remaining years of their lives.
It was here that John Pack first became acquainted with the elders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the fall of 1835 he fitted out his parents–who had already joined the Church–and sent them to Kirtland, Ohio. On the eighth of March, 1835, he and his wife were baptized into the Church by Elder James Blakesly. At his home in Hounsfield, he first became acquainted with Joseph Smith, Sr; father of the Prophet, also with John Smith and Heber C. Kimball. In the early springtime of 1837, Father disposed of his farm at Hounsfield, and in April of the same year he and his wife moved to Kirtland, Ohio, where they first had the pleasure of seeing and becoming acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith. Father purchased a farm on the Chagrin River, not far from Kirtland. At this place he also began the construction of a saw mill, thus fulfilling a desire which he is thought to have entertained from his early youth at Saint John and possibly at Watertown.
Meantime his father and mother had the rare opportunity of being present at the dedication of the temple at Kirtland, March 27, 1836, and, in common with others, witnessed the marvelous spiritual manifestations which occurred at that time. In 1837, while meeting with the Saints in Kirtland temple, Father and Aunt Julia also experienced an abundant outpouring of the Spirt of God.
Following is a copy of a Patriarchal blessing received by John Pack in the Kirtland temple, July 22, 1837, under the hands of Joseph Smith, Sr; Patriarch of the Church, and father of the Prophet:
“Brother Pack, in the name of Jesus Christ the son of God, I lay my hands upon thy head and seal and confirm on the blessings that shall never be taken off. I pronounce on thy head a father’s blessing, that thee and thy seed may be blest and benefited. My hands are on thy head with thy father’s hands, and I promise this blessing in thy father’s name. Thou art called and chosen of God to do a great and mighty work on the earth in this generation. God has known thy blood from all eternity. Thou art of the blood of Israel, through the loins of Joseph the son of Jacob. Thou hast desired to do good, to be made an instrument in the hands of God of bringing souls into his Kingdom. The angels of heaven have been witnesses of the honesty and integrity of thy heart. They have rejoiced on account of thy faithfulness. The eyes of God are upon thee from time to time and from year to year. Thou shalt behold the great joy that shall rest on the Church of the Latter-day Saints. Then shalt behold a great salvation in Zion. Thou shalt see the redemption of Zion. Thou shalt have an inheritance in Zion, and thy children shall be blest and stand with thee. Thou shalt see the temple reared in Zion and clouds resting on it. Thou shalt behold thy Savior come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. God will bless thee; they health shall be good; thy bodily and intellectual powers shall be strengthened. Thou must proclaim the gospel to this generation. God will give thee great power; thou mayest command the enemy to stand back. Thou shalt power over winds and waves, even tempests and raging fires; thou mayest turn rivers out of their course; thou mayest walk on the waters. Thou shalt have power over prisons; they shalt not hold thee; nothing shall hurt thee. Thou must be faithful. Thou art of the covenant blood of the Priesthood. Thou shalt belong to the holy ones. Thou shalt stand with the Lamb; thou shalt belong to the one hundred and forty-five thousand that shall stand with the lamb on Mount Zion; thou shalt sing the song. God will give the power and authority to preach to the spirits in prison. Thou shalt stand on a great planet nearest in the Celestial Worlds with the Priesthood and nothing shall take it from you. Thou shalt have power over treasures hid in the sand. Thou shalt have the treasures of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is given thee on condition of keeping the commands and Word of Wisdom. I seal it on thy head. I seal thee up to eternal life. Amen.
“Brother Pack’s father, having his hand on his son’s head with the Patriarch while pronouncing the above blessing, confirmed it in these words: ‘My son, I seal and confirm on thy head all that has been spoken. Thou has a great work to do. Thou must lay hold of faith, and thou shalt be blest. The blessings of God shall rest on thy posterity.’” Joseph Pine, scribe and witness.
In common with other members of the Church, Father was not to remain long in Kirtland. In the springtime of 1838, under pressure of mob violence, he sold his farm at a great loss, and, with his family, including his parents, travelled by team to Missouri, a distance in excess of five hundred miles. They first went to Far West, then to Adam-ondi-Ahman, and finally to Grand River, where a farm of one hundred sixty acres was purchased, twenty miles from Far West and thirteen miles from Adam-ondi-Ahman. This was in Davies County.
Here he was joined by several of his brothers and other relatives. Aunt Julia records that they were present in Far West at the celebration of the fourth of July, 1838. She says that because of the laying of the corner stone of the temple on that day, the Saints had a time of great rejoicing. Sidney Rigdon was the principal speaker at the service, at the close of which the assembly shouted Hosanna, sang, and adjourned.
The Saints, however, were not to enjoy a long period of peace, for shortly after the first of September, mobs began to gather against the Mormon people. Many houses were burned and other acts of violence committed. Because of this, Father and his family moved into Far West, and a little later, when persecution was less violent, back to the farm. While at the latter place a company of immigrants brought word to Father that his brother-in-law, Levi Wood, had died at Huntsville, and that his wife, Phoebe Pack, Father’s sister was herself extremely sick. The nature of Father’s experience while going to his sister’s aid is well told in the words of Aunt Julia, as follows:
“My husband and I started the next day to go and look after them. Our first day’s journey took us within five miles of Grand River ferry. We slept all night at a mobber’s house. There was but one room in the house. The landlady made our bed on the floor. About the middle of the night the man of the house came home; he complained of being tired, stating that he had not had his boots off for several nights. He had been in the mob camp that had gathered against the Saints.
“We continued our journey the next morning, and had nearly reached the ferry when a company of about thirty armed men met us. About half of them passed by, when the head man wheeled about and rode up to our wagon. He inquired if we were Mormons. My husband told him we were. He then said we would have to go with him to their camp, and ordered us to wheel about. They took us five miles across a new rough road to their camp.
“The leader of their gang came up to our wagon and ordered my husband to follow them, saying, ‘We take you for a spy.’ He then said to me, ‘You can bid your husband goodbye; you will never see him again; you can go to that house.’ Pointing to a log house across a hollow. I told him I would not go one inch; if my husband died, I would die with him. Then I stepped my foot on the wagon wheel and was about to jump to the ground, when my husband took me by the hand and whispered, ‘Stay with the wagon and take care of the horse; I am not afraid. I will be back soon.’
“They took him through a patch of brush to an open place covered with grass. Sashail Woods told him, ‘Here will be your grave. We are going to kill you unless you deny Joseph Smith.’ My husband told him, ‘Joseph Smith was a prophet of God; you profess to be a preacher of the Gospel; so do I, and I will meet you at the day of judgement.’
“There were five or six in the immediate party. They talked with one another as to who should shoot him, but no one really seemed to be willing to do it. Finally one of the men standing by our wagon called to the others, ‘Let that damned Mormon go.’ Soon they came back with him and ordered him into the wagon, saying that if we were ever seen in that country again, it would be at the peril of our lives. They sent the same company back with us to the ferry that took us. They saw us across the river, and we went to our sister at Huntsville.
“We found her very sick. She was completely salivated with calomel, and near death. We stayed for two weeks and did all we could for her. Then we put a bed in our wagon and placed her upon it, together with her six-month old child. We left her three older children at Huntsville at the home of a Mormon family by the name of Amos Herick. We started on our journey home, and eventually got as far as Carlton, a small town forty miles from our home. At a shop in this town were several of the mob that took us prisoners. They knew us and said, “There are the ones we took prisoners; let us go for Sashael Woods.’ A man jumped onto a horse and went full speed for some place.
“We went a short distance through a piece of timber. We then left the road and started for home across the prairie. In that country the ground is very sick; in times of storm the water cuts deep narrow gullies. During the night we came to two or three such places. My husband would unhitch the horse and get it over the gulley; then he would draw the wagon across by hand, it being a light wagon, something like the delivery wagons we have nowadays. We reached our home shortly after day light and found my husband’s brother, Rufus Pack, there with chills and fever.”
This was in the latter part of September, 1838, when Father was twenty-nine and Aunt Julia twenty-three.
A few days later George Pack, John Pack’s father, became seriously ill and died shortly thereafter. Although he was only sixty-eight years of age and a comparatively robust man, yet he was unable to endure the hardships heaped upon him by the enemies of the Church. He was a martyr at the hands of the mobs. The day following his death his body was taken to Far West, and, after a short funeral service was buried at that place.
Father and his family returned to their home on the farm that evening and stayed up all night loading whatever of their belongings they could into the wagons. The next morning they had their home goodbye and started for Far West. All this was done under the constant menace of a mob.
Shortly after reaching Far West, Father bought some logs and hurriedly made them into a one-room house. He chinked the cracks with wood, and without further preparation immediately occupied it as a dwelling. Aunt Julia describes its position as the “last house out of Far West toward Goose Creek.”
Twenty persons lived in this poorly lighted and poorly heated room during the greater part of the following winter. It is impossible to imagine the suffering that they experienced, especially in view of the fact that the mob was almost continuously hounding them. Aunt Julia says that two members of the mob, acting as guards, stood in front of their humble home for weeks.
About this time Father aided William Bosley–who married his sister Eleanor–to escape from some Missourians who were seeking him on a false charge of murder, said to have been committed at the so-called battle of Crooked River. This occasioned Father’s absence from his family for nearly two weeks. Aunt Julia relates that while Father was away the family supply of flour became exhausted, and that by means of a spring pole and mortar they pounded corn with which to make bread. They also ground wheat in a hand mill for the same purpose.
The extremes to which the Saints were driven is well illustrated by the following incident. It will be recalled that twenty people were living in Father’s one-room house Among these was Rufus Pack’s wife, about to become a mother. While Father was absent with William Bosley, she became ill. Aunt Julia obtained permission to move her into a small one-room building which Parley P. Pratt had constructed as a stable, and in which his own wife lay sick with a child. Sister Pack’s bed was placed in a small space at the foot of Sister Pratt’s bed, and she was lying in pain upon it when Elder Pratt was brought into the house, under guard, to bid his wife goodbye before he was taken to prison.
Shortly after this, Father and other of the brethren were forced to sign a paper, at the point of a bayonet, relinquishing all right to their property for the purpose of paying the expense of the Missourians, incident to their driving the Saints from the state. According to the same enforced understanding, the Saints agreed to leave Missouri before the first of April, 1839, or subject themselves to extermination. During the short respite that followed, Father and his family moved to Log Creek, probably into more commodious quarters, and remained there until the eighth of February, 1839, when they joined the general exodus of the Church from Missouri to Illinois.
In this connection the following document is particularly interesting, signed January 29,1839, at Far West Missouri:
“We whose names are hereunder written do each for ourselves individually hereby covenant to stand by and assist each other, to the utmost of our abilities, in removing from this state, in compliance with the authority of the state; and we do hereby acknowledge ourselves firmly bound to the extent of our available property, to be disposed of by committee who shall be appointed for that purpose, for providing means for removing of the poor and destitute, who shall be considered worthy, from this country, till there shall be not one left who desires to remove from the state: With this provision, that no individual shall be deprived of the right or the disposal of his own property for the above purpose, or of having control of it, or so much of it as shall be necessary for the removing of his own family, and be entitled to the overplus, after the work is effected; and furthermore, said committee shall give receipts for all property, and an account of the expenditure of the same.” Signed by John Pack and 213 others.
The distance from Far West to the Mississippi River, along the route traveled by the fleeing Saints, is in excess of two hundred miles. In February of 1839 the weather was severely cold, and the roads were muddy and otherwise in bad condition. Scores of the Saints died from exposure and fatigue. Father and his family crossed the river at Atlas, some forty miles below Quincy. A little later they settled on a farm four miles west of the town of Perry, Pike County, sixty miles south-east of Nauvoo. This was in the early springtime of 1839.
Here, according to Father’s record, “I was compelled to labor with my hands most of the time to support my family, in consequence of having been robbed of my property by the mobs in Missouri; but in course of the year, I took a mission to the southern part of the state (Illinois).”
In the springtime of 1840, Father moved from Pike County to Nauvoo, where he became an active preacher of the Gospel, performing several short-term missions in Illinois and adjacent states. Later he filled a mission in the state of Maine and another in New Jersey. While at Nauvoo, Father and Aunt Julia became intimately acquainted with both Joseph and Hyrum, and listened to their teachings on numerous occasions.
On the 16th of December, 1840, Governor Carlin, of Illinois, signed a bill authorizing the incorporation of the Illinois, signed a bill authorizing the incorporation of the city of Nauvoo, also the formation of an independent military group to be known as the Nauvoo Legion, the officers of which were to be commissioned by the Governor of the state. Subsequently, when the organization was effected, John Pack was commissioned a Major.
After numerous futile attempts to have Joseph Smith returned to Missouri, to answer various charges made against him, Governor Reynolds of that state issued an extradition for the return of the Prophet June 13, 1843. Governor Ford of Illinois, already unfriendly to the Mormon people, hurriedly issued a warrant for his arrest. The Prophet, at the time was visiting with relatives in Lee County, some two hundred miles north of Nauvoo. Two sheriffs, Reynolds and Wilson, promptly placed him under arrest, and immediately started away with him, meantime treating him with utmost cruelty. Their purpose was to carry him back to Missouri, where he would fall into the hands of his former enemies.
Hyrum Smith, at Nauvoo, upon hearing what had been done, called for a group of volunteers to go to the rescue of the Prophet, and if possible to frustrate the unlawful scheme of those who held him in custody. John Pack immediately responded and rode off at the head of twenty-four horsemen, who were determined to protect their leader at any and all costs. Meantime the officials of Lee County, at the instigation of Stephen Markham, issued a warrant against Reynolds and Wilson on the ground of their having threatened the life of the Prophet, also on the ground of false imprisonment. Reynolds and Wilson thus became the prisoners of Sheriff Campbell of Lee County.
The Prophet and his associates were determined that he should appear before an Illinois tribunal; whereas Reynolds and Wilson did everything within their power to take him to the party and left no doubt in the minds of the Missourians that they would not be permitted to carry their nefarious scheme into effect. A little later Joseph appeared before a court in Nauvoo and was acquitted.
In August of 1843, John Pack and Julia Ives were sealed for time and all eternity by Hyrum Smith, the Patriarch, at Nauvoo Illinois. When the Nauvoo Temple was nearing completion, this sealing was repeated in that building, December 16, 1845, Heber C. Kimball officiating, John Young and A. M. Lyman were witnesses. At the same time they also received their endowments. Father and Aunt Julia later became temple workers.
At the time of the Prophet’s martyrdom, June 27, 1844, Father was doing missionary work in the state of New Jersey. Immediately upon receipt of the news, he and his companion, Ezra T. Benson, returned to Nauvoo and joined the sorrowing Saints. Aunt Julia relates that after the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were brought to Nauvoo, she saw them in the Nauvoo Mansion, were thousands gazed upon them in silent grief.
A few month’s after Father’s return to Nauvoo, the Eighth Quorum of Seventy was organized by President Brigham Young, and Father was made its Senior President, October 8, 1844, having been ordained a Seventy October 6, 1844. Following are the names of the Presidency: John Pack, Samuel B. Frost, Benjamin Wilber, Alston Colby, Benjamin Clapp, Ebenizer Robinson, and William Hyde.
In 1845, upon advice of President Young, Father rented the Nauvoo Mansion and he and Aunt Julia kept tavern there for six months. The President then counselled Father to purchase the Lomis Tavern, to prevent the rendevousing there of the enemies of the Church. He kept this place until shortly before the eighth of February, 1846, the time of his final departure from Nauvoo.
Ward E. Pack, Father’s oldest son, who well-remembered the circumstance, later wrote that Father’s home in Nauvoo was “a hewn log house situated on a five acre piece of land about one-half mile between Mulholland and Parley streets, and one-half mile east of the Temple.”
As soon as the Prophet was slain, it became apparent that the Saints would be forced to abandon Nauvoo. Yet in the face of this widely recognized fact, they industriously completed the temple and dedicated it to the service of the Lord. This had scarcely been done, when under orders of the mob, they left practically everything that they owned and moved out into the wilderness. The exodus from Nauvoo began on the fourth of February and continued for several weeks until the city was practically depopulated of our people. I shall let Father speak for himself. Under date of February 8, 1846; he says:
“I took leave of my comfortable dwelling and crossed the Mississippi River, and took my shelter with my family and the Saints in the open air on Sugar Creek, where we were exposed to the cold storms of the winter. The cold was so great while we were there encamped, that the river froze sufficiently for loaded teams to cross on the ice. But notwithstanding there were several thousand souls in camp for three weeks, not a single death occurred, neither was there much sickness.”
At this time Aunt Julia’s youngest child was only four months old. The courage expressed in the foregoing statement is emphasized by the words of the historian Bancroft, as follows: “There is no parallel in the world’s history to this migration from Nauvoo. The exodus from Egypt was from a heathen land, a land of idolator to a fertile region designated by the Lord for his chosen people, the land of Canaan. The Pilgrim’s fathers in fleeing to America came from a people making few pretentions to civil or religious liberty. It was from these same people who fled from old-world persecutions that they might enjoy the liberty of conscience in the wilds of America, from their descendants and associates, that other of their descendants, who claimed the right to differ from them in opinion and practise were now fleeing.”
Principally because of the demands of their enemies at Nauvoo, the Mormon people decided to leave Sugar Creek as early as possible. Accordingly, on the first of March, 1836, after a temporary organization was effected, the company again moved forward, largely as a single body of five hundred wagons or more. But because of the inclemency of the weather, the poorness of the roads, and the insufficiency of teams, movement was extremely slow. Father says, “The snow and rain were so severe, and the mud so deep, that we made but little progress.”
Slightly later in the journey, near the Charitan River, a more systematic organization was formed. The entire company was divided into two grand divisions, over one of which Brigham Young had command, and over the other which Stephen Markham was captain, who in turn was under the command of Heber C. Kimball.
From Father’s official record of this memorable organization, I learn that the individuals belonging his family and present with him were as follows:
John Pack born Saint John May 20, 1809
Julia Pack (wife) born Watertown, New York March 8, 1817
Ward E. Pack (child) born Watertown, New York April 17, 1834
Lucy Pack (child) born Kirtland, Ohio June 24, 1837
George C. Pack (child) born Nauvoo, Illinois November 6, 1841
John Pack, Jr. (child) born Nauvoo, Illinois October 5, 1843
Julia Pack (child) born Nauvoo, Illinois October 5, 1845
Ruth Moshier Pack (wife) born Prescott, Canada April 12, 1821
Nana Booth Pack (wife) born Brown County, Ohio April 11, 1826
Eliza Jaine Graham Pack(wife) born Providence, PA Nov. 6, 1825
Phylotte Green (mother) born East Greenwick, RI May 20, 1774
It will thus be seen that John Pack’s family consisted of himself, his four wives, Julia, Ruth, Nancy, and Eliza Jane, his five children, and his mother, Phylotte Green, making a total of eleven. Three of the ten outfits in the company belonged to Father – a carriage drawn by two horses and driven by himself and two wagons each drawn by six oxen and driven by William H. Forseythe and George Hickenloper.
Relative to the founding of Garden Grove, one hundred and forty five miles west of Nauvoo, Father says, “The last of April we arrived at Garden Grove, on the west fork of the Grand River, where the whole company planted a large field and left a few Saints to raise the grain for the Saints that came after.” In addition to planting the grain, bridges were constructed, wells were dug, and houses were built. It is said that within a few days the three-hundred fifty-nine men, thus engaged, constructed a village, like magic in the wilderness.
A short distance farther on, near the middle fork of the Grand River, the advance company built another resting place for the oncoming Saints, called Mount Pisgah. Such places were necessary because the Saints were now traveling through an unsettled country, belonging chiefly to the Indians. Concerning his trip from Garden Grove to Mount Pisgah, Father makes the following brief comment: “We then took a northwest course over hills and valleys for days but travelled only about forty five miles; the country being very rough. Our cattle had become very numerous and made a beautiful appearance as the crossed over the hills and reached for a great distance. We came to the middle fort of Grand River where we made another settlement and called the place Mount Pisgah. The camp remained here for two weeks.”
Although Father’s record contains the statement: “from this place (Mount Pisgah) we pursued our journey for the mountains and arrived at Cutler’s Park, Nebraska, the first of August,” yet there is proof to the effect that he came to the river more than a month before this time, for he recorded the minutes of a meeting held at Council Bluffs, June 30, 1836, when Heber C. Kimball announced his intention of crossing to the west side of the river and establishing an outpost from which the journey across the plains could be started. There is similar reason for believing that he was present at meetings held at the same place July 3, 15, 16, and 19. It is not unprobable, therefore that he first came to Council Bluffs with one of the advance companies, and, after completing the work required of him in this connection, returned to his oncoming party and arrived with them at Cutler’s Park, August first, in harmony with his above statement.
Cutler’s Park was to become a place of sorrow for Father and Aunt Julia, for here on the thirteenth of August, 1846, they buried their little daughter, Julia, less than a year old, who had been unable to survive the hardships of the six month’s journey from Nauvoo westward. She was truly a martyr to the cause of truth. They placed her lovely little body in a “burying ground nearby.” The sadness that filled the parents’ hearts was necessarily soon suppressed, for two days later, on “the first day of September, the camp moved down the river and called the place Winter Quarters.”
Before th government made its call for the Mormon Battalion, plans had been laid by the brethren to send an advance company of picked men to the mountains immediately after reaching the Missouri River in 1846, when their numbers were thus decimated, it was decided to go into “Winter Quarters” and make ready for an early start the next year. Accordingly, as soon as this conclusion was reached, construction work on a large scale was begun at Winter Quarters.
Orson F. Whitney is authority for the statement that the place soon “consisted of seven hundred houses of log, turf, and other primitive materials, neatly arranged and laid with streets and byways, with workshops, mills, etc; and a tabernacle of worship in the midst; the whole arising from a pretty plateau overlooking the river, and well fortified breakwork stockade, and block-houses, after the fashion of the frontier.” It is well known of course that Florence, Nebraska, five miles above the city of Omaha, now (1937) occupies the former site of Winter Quarters.
The nature of the abode occupied by Father and his family during the winter 1846-47 is not known. At best it was extremely primitive, and even so it was doubtless cherry and comfortable compared with the open camps of the past several months. The winter was not spent in idleness, quite to the contrary, for already preparations were being made for an early start to the mountains next year, and Father had been selected to join the advance party. During the daylight hours , the natural quietness of the region was continuously disturbed by the music of the saw, the axe, and the anvil; while at nighttime the people danced and sang or sat around their firesides talking little of the yesterday but more of the morrow. Much of the time during this winter Father was teaming between Winter Quarters and Saint Joseph, Missouri, in order to sustain his family and to make preparation for the unprecedented trip ahead.
Finally the day for the company’s departure arrived, April 5, 1847. On this day Heber C. Kimball with six wagons moved out as far as Cutler’s Park, which had been designated as a place of assemblage for the pioneer company. April 6th, the general conference of the Church was held at Winter Quarters, and on the following day a considerable number of brethren joined the waiting vanguard. After some delay, occasioned chiefly by President Young’s return to Winter Quarters, the twelve miles of the Elkhorn River and forty-seven miles west of Winter Quarters, April 15, 1847.
There on the 16th of April the pioneer camp was organized as follows: Captains of hundreds, Stephen Markham and Albert P. Rockwood; captains of fifties, Addison Everett, Tarlton Lewis, James Case, John Pack, and Shadrack Roundy. Also a large number of captains of tens. The companies were instructed to travel closely together, rather than scattered as before. In the company there were 143 men and boys, three women, and two children, total 148. There were 72 wagons, 93 horses, 52 mules, 66 oxen, 19 cows, 17 dogs, and chickens.
At five o’clock in the afternoon of April 17th the camps were called together and a military organization was created as follows: Brigham Young, Lieutenant General; Stephen Markham, Colonel; John Pack, Major; and Shadrack Roundy, Major. The next day the start for the mountains was begun in real earnest. The military organization was chiefly for protection against Indians and outlaws.
Concerning the events just mentioned, Father gives us the following brief statement: “Here (Winter Quarters) we stayed through the winter. The leaders of the camp deemed it necessary to raise a camp of pioneers to search out the route to Salt Lake Valley in the mountains. A company of about one hundred fifty men was raised for the purpose. The company was led by the Twelve, Brigham Young, and Heber C. Kimball. Company was organized in military form, and I was appointed Major or Lieutenant Colonel over Brigham Young’s division. We started the eighteenth day of April 1847.” A very retiring statement of a truly prodigious undertaking!
Aunt Julia, who remained behind at Winter Quarters, has left the following brief statement: “In the spring of 1847 my husband was called to be one of the pioneers to the Rocky Mountains. The pioneers were led by the Twelve, Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball. They organized in a military organization, the officers were as follows: Brigham Young, Lieutenant General; Jesse C. Little, Adjutant; Steven Markham, Colonel; John Pack and Shadrack Roundy, Majors. They started on their journey the first part of April, 1847.”
It is interesting to observe that one fails to find a single complaining note in what Aunt Julia says, and yet she was to be the sole support of herself and her children in her husband’s absence, and that too at a time when her own health was not the best. Aunt Julia proved herself heroic to the end of her days.
I have no direct information concerning the nature of the outfit which Father brought. From a notation made by William Clayton, however, it appears that the wagon was drawn by horses instead of oxen, for he describes somewhat graphically the manner in which certain horse-drawn vehicles were helped across a sandy stream one hundred thirty miles west of Winter Quarters, and names Father among those who were given assistance. Moreover, I have found a notation to the effect that when Father was about to return to Winter Quarters in August “his horses being worn out by the journey to the valley, he procured two yoke of cattle from Mr. Crow.” In later years, at least, Father was an excellent horseman, and prided himself in possessing only the best.
Sunday, April 25, Father with others was selected to hunt buffalo as the company proceeded. On May first, opposite Grand Island, Nebraska, the brethren saw their first buffalo, a herd of more than a hundred. Father and the others went out to shoot one, or more, if possible. The chase lasted for three hours and was full of thrilling excitement. Finally Father was successful in killing a mighty bull, which fell almost at his feet. The total number killed is placed at one bull, three cows, and six calves – a number far in excess of expectations. Thereafter buffalo were seen with increasing frequency. Later someone made the statement, “Truly the Lord’s cattle on a thousand hills are numerous.”
On Sunday, May 20, while encamped at a point about fifteen miles east of Fort Laramie, in what is now eastern Wyoming, the brethren bore testimony of the goodness of God to them and partook of the sacrament in renewal of their covenants. Later in the same day the members of a prayer circle met in an opening within the nearby cliffs, and, after dressing themselves in their temple clothing, offered prayer to God for themselves, for their families, and for all that pertained unto them. The names of this council are given as follows: Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, Wilford Woodruff, Arnosa Lyman, Ezra T. Benson, Phineas H. Young, John Pack, Charles Shumway, Shadrack Roundy, Albert P. Rockwood, Erastus Snow, William Clayton, Albert Carrington, and Porter Rockwell. The two brethren last named had no temple clothing, and stood on guard to prevent interruption.
At the upper crossing of the Platte River, near what is now Casper, Wyoming, difficulty was encountered in getting the wagons across the river. It was springtime, June 14th, and the water was high and swift. The contents of the wagons were taken across in a boat, and most of the wagons on an improvised raft. A few of the wagons were tied together side by side and pulled across by means of a rope. This was the case with Father’s wagon, but when it and the one lashed to it reached the far side, they rolled over one another, breaking the bows and losing tire-iron from Father’s wagon to the value of thirty dollars. It is still somewhere in the old river bed. Interesting if it could be found!
Monday, June 21, Father and the pioneer company passed the famous Independence Rock, which for many years had been an outstanding landmark to all western travelers. Sunday, June 27, three years after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum, the company camped near South Pass, the dividing line between the Pacific and the Atlantic drainage. The brethren’s minds doubtless reverted to serious matters on that day.
On the twelfth of July, 1847, President Young was taken sick on Bear River, not far from the present site of Evanston, Wyoming. This necessarily delayed the party and caused much anxiety, since the planting season was already well advanced. On the 18th, the main company had passed through Echo Canyon and reached the Weber River; President Young and a small company of eight or ten wagons were somewhat behind. On this date President Kimball, who was now in charge, proposed that on the following day the company move forward and proceed through to the valley without further delay.
Exploration had already been made of Weber Canyon below this point and found impassible. Accordingly, the company decided to turn to the left at the present site of Henefer and follow the trail travelled by the Donner Party of the year before. At this point Heber C. Kimball and a few others went ahead, and Father was left in charge of the main company, which he directed the entire distance through East Canyon, over Big and Little Mountains, and into the head of Emigration Canyon.
Father relates that when he and a few of his associates obtained their first view of the valley from the summit of Big Mountain, pandemonium broke loose. Strong men embraced one another and cried as if they were children. Others shouted at the tops of their voices and hurrahed to those who were approaching. He says that Porter Rockwell – characteristically stolid and unemotional – was so effected by the sight that he even removed the boots from his feet and repeatedly hurled them into the air.
Early in the morning of July 22nd, Father in company with Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, John Brown, Joseph Mathews, O. P. Rockwell, Erastus Snow, and J. C. Little went forward on horseback from their camp in upper Emigration Canyon to seek out a suitable place for planting crops and beginning their settlement. After entering the valley, Father and at least part of his companions discovered the Warm Springs, Beck’s Hot Springs, and continued possibly five miles even farther to the northward. Later in the day, the combined party decided upon a location near the mouth of City Creek Canyon, within a fraction of a mile from the place where great Salt Lake Temple now stands. Thus Father became one of the founders of Salt Lake City, Thursday, July 22nd, 1847, its location having been actually selected by him and his seven companions.
Toward evening of the same day, July 22, the main company which Father had left in the upper part of Emigration Canyon, entered the valley, and camped somewhat south of the present site of Salt Lake City. At a meeting held that evening Father and Joseph Mathews were chosen to return and inform President Young of what had been done. Accordingly, the next morning, July 23, he and Joseph Mathews returned as far as Birch Springs, in Mountain Dell, where President Young was to camp for the night. Here they told him that the advance company of eight men had entered the valley, partially explored it, and had made a choice of the site where crops should be planted. Late in the evening, Father and his companion returned to the valley, and encamped with their brethren at a point well within the present business center of Salt Lake City.
Early in the morning of July 24th, Father and a few others returned to Emigration Canyon for the purpose of strengthening a few bridges and otherwise assisting the President’s party in entering the valley. Shortly before noon of that day, July 24, the wagons of President Young and those who had remained behind with him rumbled through the mouth of the canyon and out onto the more regular bench land below. From this place the President obtained his first comprehensive view of the valley, and immediately endorsed the work done by the advance company, by declaring, “This is the Place.” Within about an hour he reached the encampment at the present site of Salt Lake City, where, because of the lateness of the season, plowing , preparatory to planting, was already well underway.
It is only proper to note that when Father came into the valley with President Young on the twenty-fourth of July, he had already entered it on two previous occasions once on the twenty-second of July, and once on the twenty-third.
Orson Pratt and Erastus Snow entered the valley on the twenty-first of July; Father and his companions came in somewhat before noon of the twenty-second; the main company also arrived in late afternoon of the twenty-second; and President Young reached it shortly after noon of the twenty-fourth. It was later agreed that the twenty-fourth should be adopted as the day to be kept in commemoration of the Pioneers’ arrival.
The precise route travelled by the pioneers from the mouth of Emigration Canyon to the encampment site on City Creek is not known, but if it is assumed that the course was essentially straight, it necessarily passed within a few rods of my present residence at Fifth South and Thirteenth East streets. I like to think of Father–then a robust man of thirty-eight–as riding across the exact sport where my home now stands, strong, determined, resolute–yet weary from his journey and long exposure, but undaunted and unafraid. My modern well-kept home, surrounded by lawns and trees and flowers, forms a bold contrast with the scanty brush at the side of the newly formed trail of now ninety years ago. Three years ago I chose the site and superintended the drilling of a well at the south end of the University Campus, and discovered sufficient water to convert nearly a hundred acres of this barren desert into a veritable garden. It is scarcely possible that even in his most enthusiastic moments Father could have foreseen such a development.
And yet withal, the Salt Lake Valley was far more inviting then much of the country through which the Pioneers had passed. The soil was of first quality and water was comparatively abundant in the nearby streams. Moreover, the Pioneers did not know the meaning of the term failure, and therefore they immediately set about to convert the barren desert into fertile fields.
July twenty-fifth was Sunday, the day of rest, and therefore no work or exploration was done. At ten in the morning, a meeting was held within an opening formed by encircling wagons, and various of the brethren expressed themselves in praise of God’s goodness to them. At two o’clock in the afternoon a sacrament meeting was held at the same place; John Pack is listed as one of the speakers, although it appears that Orson Pratt delivered the principal sermon. We are sometimes prone to associate excellent meetings with temples and luxurious churches, but it is doubtful that greater sincerity and devotion were ever shown by human beings than was shown by the Mormon Pioneers that Sunday afternoon when they sat amid their road-scarred wagons in the heat of a sweltering July sun.
The following day, Monday, all were busy again. The precise nature of the work performed by Father during the next three weeks does not appear to be of record. Within that period however, much was done; the country was explored as far west as Great Salt Lake, as far south as Utah Valley, and as far north as Cache Valley. The temple site was decided upon, and the city was laid out in ten-acre squares. Roads were constructed into nearby canyons, and logs were obtained for use in the construction of the “Old Fort.” A bowery made of poles and willows, for religious purposes, and of sufficient size to accommodate the entire Pioneer band, was built in the south-western part the temple block. A large acreage of ground was also plowed and planted.
In the meantime preparation was going forward for the return of a considerable number of the brethren to Winter Quarters, where many of them were being awaited by their wives and other members of their families. John Pack was a member of this party. The company, consisting of seventy-one men, with thirty-three wagons, ninety-two oxen and some horses and mules, left the valley August 16, 1847. Those who had horses to ride were assigned the especial duty of repairing the road, driving the loose cattle, and selecting camp sites. Father was the proud possessor of a valuable riding horse and therefore took his position in this group. He was also the owner of a wagon and two yoke of oxen in the company. For him the journey homeward was lightened by at least two impulses which he did not possess on his way westward, namely, the reward of having reached the Promised Land and the ecstatic joy of returning to his family.
On the twenty-second of August, the returning company travelled a distance of eighteen miles between Sulphur Springs and Muddy Fork in what is now xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
thousand miles away, Father’s wife Julia, gave birth to her fourth son, later to be known as Don Carlos.
I have seen the Muddy River in the vicinity of where Father camped that night– sluggish meandering stream scarcely two rods wide, flanked with bunch grass and grease wood, and I have pictured Father by the side of a smouldering campfire thinking of wife and home. Likewise I have thought of Aunt Julia in a humble hut on the banks of the great Missouri, she too performing her equally important part in the work of God. In this connection it is interesting to state that this same Don C. Pack died only six years ago in his eighty-fourth year, and I was honored with an invitation to speak at his funeral service. He was buried in a little cometary at Marion, three miles north of Kamas.
An exciting incident occurred when the returning company reached South Pass. That morning, August twenty-ninth, a small group forged ahead of the main company, hoping to reach the Sweetwater before nightfall. At the Pass the advance wagons were quickly surrounded by a group of Indians, who had come to trade, but whose purpose was misunderstood by the main company behind. Upon seeing what he regarded as the perilous condition of the vanguard, Father hurriedly rode back to the rear wagons and solicited help for those ahead. But the fear created by the supposedly hostile Indians was so intense that only one person, Norman Taylor, volunteered to return with Father to the rescue of those apparently in distress. Later when the real intention of the Indians was learned, all of the wagons moved forward and trading became general, principally hides and furs for powder and balls.
Incidentally, it was through this same pass that the first wagons to enter the Great Basin were brought by Captain Bonneville just fifteen years earlier.
On the Sweetwater, September third, Father met Joseph B. Noble and Jedediah M. Grant travelling west. The former was doing well, but the latter had lost a child the night before, and his wife was seriously sick–she died a few days later before reaching the valley. Many years later I personally knew Brother Noble. He was very proud of his acquaintance with the Prophet, and never lost an opportunity to testify concerning him. Brother Gant was my wife’s grandfather. In 1846 Brother Grant and his family had travelled in the same company with Father from Nauvoo westward through Iowa.
It was the habit of the oxen, while enroute, to feed much of the night, and therefore at dawn were often many miles from where they were unyoked the night before. It appears to have been one of Father’s duties to ride out in the morning and bring in the oxen, preparatory to the day’s trip. On numerous occasions they are reported to have been found as much as four or five miles from camp. On the morning of September seventh after the company had spent a stormy and fireless night at Willow Spring, twenty miles beyond Independence Rock, it was discovered that all of the cattle were missing. Father set out on foot to find them, and after following their tracks seven or more miles do the road toward the Platte River, in the face of a blinding rain and snow, he returned to the camp and advised that oxen be temporarily borrowed from another contingent which had just arrived. This was done and the journey resumed. After the company had travelled thirteen miles, the missing animals were sighted four miles to the left of the road at the base of a cliff. Father and Jackson Redding rode out and brought the cattle in, which were soon yoked to the wagons and the company moved forward in its usual manner.
When this company left the valley, it was evident to everyone that the food supply possessed by the Saints would be none too plentiful for those who remained, and therefore only such amounts were brought away as would be actually needed for the trip. William Clayton places the individual allowance at eight pounds of flour, nine pounds of meal, and a few beans– surely a meager supply for what was to become a nine week’s journey: The trip had been scarcely half completed when the breadstuff was gone, and thereafter the brethren were forced to rely almost wholly upon fresh meat for their sustenance. This condition occassioned no little alarm, and at times seriously disturbed the regularity with which the company proceeded.
During the later part of the journey, the brethren were also greatly annoyed by the xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx sign they came directly into the camp and forcibly stole a horse tied to one of the wagons, and drove off four of the unyoked oxen. They also made away with a valuable knife belonging to Father. From this time forward constant vigilance was necessary.
Eventually, when Winter Quarters was only a short distance ahead, Father was delayed because of an accident to his wagon. In crossing the Elkhorn he encountered a deep current with a muddy bottom, and the tongue of the wagon was broken. It may be– no one can tell– that he failed to exercise his usual caution. But if he did, Who can wonder at it? He had been away from his family for nearly seven months, and during that time had received very little word from them. The wagon, however, was soon repaired and within a short time he was in the presence of his family. This was the latter part of October, 1847.
And what a greeting: There were the noble women who had waited and toiled and prayed in his absence. Aunt Julia held in her arms a child, Don Carlos, who was born while the father was away, and by her side stood four small children, the eldest a lad of thirteen. And there too was his devoted mother, proud of her son’s accomplishments and of his faithfulness to the cause of God. No king could have been more genuinely welcomed, and none more delighted to be home.
On the twenty-fifth of October, 1847, only a few days after his arrival at Winter Quarters, Father preached to the Saints at that place and gave a description of Salt Lake Valley as a future gathering place for the people of the Lord.
Early in the year 1848, Father, with his family, moved from Winter Quarters across the Missouri River to Pigeon Creek and established himself on a small farm, thinking that it would be impossible for him to go back to the valley this year. But being counselled by President Young to go, he made almost super human efforts to provide himself and his large family with provisions and transportation. Accordingly on the first of April, 1848, he and his family bade Winter Quarters goodbye and went into camp on the Elkhorn River, at which place the company had been instructed to assemble, preparatory to leaving for the West in the early part of June. At this place Father was made a Captain in President Heber C. Kimball’s company, with a total of six hundred sixty-two souls and two hundred twenty-six wagons.
The composition of this company was vastly different from that of the pioneer company of the preceding year. The present one contained men and their families, together with chattels and other personal belongings. The earlier company was bound on a mission of exploration and discovery. The present one was going for settlement. On the first trip, Father carried with him principally farm tools and seed, sufficient for him to make a quick dash into the unknown country, plant some crops, and return. But at present he was taking his family with him, with no thought of coming back.
At this time Father’s family consisted of himself, his wife Julia and five children, Ward, Lucy, George, John, and Don, his wives Ruth and Nancy, and his mother Phylotte Green Pack, a total of then ten. His mother was seventy-four years of age, and his youngest child, Don, was only eight months. Considering the size of his family, it scarcely seems possible that Father could have made the trip with fewer three or four wagons. Concerning this, however, we have no records.
At the Elkhorn River, an Indian shot one of Father’s oxen, which for a time seriously threatened his progress. With characteristic resourcefulness, however, Father decided to use one of his cows. He was about to place the yoke on it when a stray ox came in from somewhere and walked directly into the place of the cow. Father yoked it with the other ox and drove it to Salt Lake Valley. Later, when its long hair wore off, the government brand “U.S;” was plainly visible on its side. It is believed that the animal had been turned out on the plains to die, and that I had not only survived the winter but had regained its normal weight. At any rate it was regarded by Father and his family as almost a gift from heaven.
By this time Father was a hunter of experience and skill. Aunt Julia says, “One time while hunting he came upon a herd of buffalo. Like the hunter he was, he shot a veal. Being a long way from the train, he could not carry a larger animal. When the drove heard the shot and saw the mad horse, they stampeded and Mr. Pack proceeded to the veal he had wounded. It lowed for its mother and the drove returned. Before Mr. Pack could get away, the buffalo unhorsed him, and he had to lie flat in a narrow wash to save his life. Finally after pawing dirt all over him, and no doubt thinking him dead, the animals left. In the excitement his horse ran away and never returned.”
The caravan was too large and cumbersome to move rapidly, and accordingly did not reach the valley until late in September, 1848, being on the road nearly six months, which was considerably longer than that of the original company of the preceding year.
Either at this time or a year earlier, Father obtained his homesite at the southwest corner of West Temple and First North Streets, which he retained until the time of his death in 1885. Here he camped, and “being advised by President Young, he got out timber from the canyons and built an adobe house thirty by sixty feet, in the Seventeenth Ward of Salt Lake City, to be used as a place for dancing and other amusements.” The larger part of the winter of 1848-49 was doubtless used in its construction.
According to the historian Bancroft, in December of 1848 two companies of hunters were formed for the purpose of exterminating wild animals in the vicinity of Salt Lake City. One of the companies was headed by John Pack and one by John D. Lee. There was of total of eighty-four men. They were very successful as shown by the large number of creatures they killed, to wit: “2 bears, 783 wolves, 409 foxes, 2 wildcats, 2 xolvermes, 31 minks, 9 eagles, 530 magpies, owls, and hawks, and 1026 raven (crows).”
Some time in the year 1849 the first store in Salt Lake City was housed in one of the rooms of Father’s residence. The store was owned by Livingston and Kindead, and had a stock of general merchandise valued at twenty thousand dollars. In my youth the lock and key used on the door of the store were in our granary at West Bountiful. In size, the lock was about eight by ten by two inches. The key was fully five inches long and heavy in proportion to its length. What became of the lock and key I do not know.
Early in the springtime of 1849, Father moved with a part of his family to Farmington where he plowed a considerable acreage and planted it to corn. He protected it from the ravages of crickets by surrounding it with a broad ditch filled with water. He was thus successful in raising a fairly good crop.
Some time in the late summer or early autumn of 1849, Father made entry of an eighty-acre tract of land in West Bountiful, ten miles north of Salt Lake City. Some time later, after government patent was received, Father deeded half of the tract to others, retaining forty acres for himself, which remained in his possession until the time of his death, when it became the property of his two wives Jane and Jessie. At the time it was located, it was regarded by many people as of very little value since it was partially swamp land and largely overgrown by willows. Today it is one of the choicest sections of garden land in the entire state. In the following pages it will be referred to as the farm at Bountiful.
At the October Conference, 1849, only a year after Father and his family reached the valley, he was called by the authorities of the Church to carry the Gospel to the people of France in connection with John Taylor and Curtis E. Bolton.
One can scarcely imagine the faith and fortitude necessary to accept a call under such conditions. During the short time that Father had been in the valley he had devoted himself entirely to the building of a house and the harvesting of a crop but he had accumulated nothing whatsoever with which to make the prospective trip. Moreover, his wives would have to support themselves in his absence, since his oldest son, Ward, was only fifteen years of age. Then too both Aunt Julia and Aunt Nancy had a child only a few months old, and Aunt Ruth was about to become a mother. Only women of perfect Christian fortitude would be willing to join in such a sacrifice. Nevertheless on the nineteenth of October, 1849, two weeks after his call, Father surrendered his family to the care of the Master and departed for this distant field of labor.
In the same party with father, John Taylor, and Curtis C. (E.?) Bolton were Erastus Snow, bound for Denmark, Lorenzo Snow, for Italy, Franklin G. Richards for Great Britain, besides a number of other brethren, both for Europe and the eastern part of the United States. Since these were the first elders to be sent out by the Church since coming to the Rocky Mountains, the event of their departure is of more than ordinary historic value.
The company, consisting of some thirty men, had a very disagreeable journey across the plains, due principally to the inclemency of the weather and the unfriendliness of the Indians. At noontime of the second day beyond Fort Laramie, according to Aunt Julia, the travellers were “surprised to see dashing upon them from the hills a large company of Sioux Indians, bent apparently on their destruction, for they came at furious speed, bows in hand with their arrows upon the string. The men of the company were drawn up in line of defence. It was then that Mr. Pack realized the fulfillment of the saying, “Thou mayest command thy enemies’ words uttered by Joseph Smith, Sr. When pronouncing a blessing on Mr. Pack’s head in the temple at Kirtland. When commanded, the Indians stopped. A parley ensued, a compromise was effected, and the company passed on without further trouble.” B. H. Roberts, who later wrote the Life of John Taylor considers this incident as merely a friendly prank on the part of the Indians, intended to frighten the travellers, but Father himself who was a participant in the affair did not so regard it.
The remaining part of the journey to the Missouri River was uneventful. At Kanesville, Iowa, however, the party was received with marked demonstrations of delight. Guns were fired at their arrival, and entertainments were prepared for their enjoyment. From Kanesville, Father and several of the brethren went on to Saint Louis, where they remained for a short time exhorting the Saints to righteousness, who at that place numbered upward of three thousand.
The brethren then went to New York, from which port they set sail in the Westervelt, an excellent vessel of fifteen hundred tons burden. They arrived at Liverpool May 27, 1850. After a brief respite in England, the brethren reached Boulogne, France, June 18, exactly eight months from the time they left Salt Lake City. The company at this time consisted of John Taylor, Curtis E. Bolton, John Pack, and William Howell, from Wales, who had already done missionary work in the Jersey Islands and along the west coast of France.
After the brethren had xxxxxxx themselves in simple quarters at No. 15 Rue de lempe Boulogne, they called upon the Mayor of the city and obtained permission to preach the gospel to the people of his city. At nightfall of June 28th, the brethren when down to the sea shore where in the protection of the shadows, they thanked God for their safe voyage, they dedicated themselves to the cause for which they had left their homes, and prayed for wisdom in the great labor before them. Later, after securing a hall in which to present their message, the wrote articles for the various newspapers, and otherwise attempted to attract the people to their meetings.
On the fourth of July, 1850, the brethren received a letter from three local preachers, challenging them to debate on various aspects of the Mormon religion. In course of time satisfactory terms were agreed upon and the debate began. John Taylor was appointed to lead the discussion for the Mormon elders.
“Our honorable opponents have seen proper to speak evil of Joseph Smith. I was acquainted with him almost from the beginning of his religious career, and I speak that which I know, and not my opinion. I know that Joseph Smith’s character was good–as good as any man’s. Those statements made about him are false. Joseph Smith was a just, honorable, and upright man, and I know it. Neither do I know any evil of him. I know that he was persecuted for his religion, as the Saints have always been persecuted. I know that religous men have generally been at the head of these persecutions. I have seen the Saints persecuted when blood has stained their paths. I am not afraid to testify that the mob was headed by reverend divines.
“I was once taken by a mob myself. I was travelling with my wife about eighty miles from home, in the state of Missouri. They came to me and stopped my carriage, and asked me if I was a Mormon. I told them, “Yes, I am a full-blooded Mormon!” They dragged me from my wife into a wood, and told my wife to take a last farewell of me. Sashiel Woods, a Baptist or Presbyterian minister, headed this company; he was their leader. He asked me if I would forsake the Mormons and deny Mormonism. I told him, no, I would not! I knew it was true and I would not give up my faith. The condemned me to death. Sashiel Woods then took ten men and led me into the woods to shoot me, but no one could be found to do it. They quarreled among themselves and after sometime I was liberated.”
“These things that I have spoken of are true; I bear my testimony to them before God and man. I know Joseph Smith was a good virtuous, honorable man. As Mr. Taylor has offered to do, so do I. Bring forth your officers and I will make oath to it.”
He was asked by Mr. Robertson, one of the preachers, if he ever saw Joseph Smith work a miracle, to which he replied, “I have seen some lying at the point of death, given up by physicians. I have seen them healed immediately after Joseph Smith had laid his hands on them, and rise from their beds and go forth.”
After remaining in Boulogne for some time, Father went to Calais, where he had the good fortune to baptize three or four converts. At this place he received a letter from John Taylor inviting him to come to Paris and be present at the organization of a branch of the Church at that place. He accepted the invitation and was present when the organization was effected, December 8, 1850. He returned to Calais on the tenth of December or the same year.
On the fifteenth of December, Father wrote a letter to Elder Franklin D. Richards in London, requesting him to thank the Saints of England for furnishing the means by which he and his associates were sustained in their missionary labors.
On the thirteenth of May, 1851, Father was in London to attend a general conference, and stayed at the home of a brother Bray. He and Curtis E. Bolton spent the day of June fourth visiting famous places in that great city. At a conference held at the home of Brother Bray, June 6, 1851, Father was selected to preside over the Saints residing in Jersey Island and contiguous parts of France. Because of the large number of Saints in Jersey and their willingness to assist the elders financially in their labors, Father requested to hold himself in readiness to send help to the missionaries in France in case they should need it.
In compliance with his new appointment, Father reached Saint Helier, the chief city of Jersey Island, June 22, 1851. At that time my mother, Mary Jane Walker, a young woman of sixteen was a member of the Saint Helier branch, having been baptized at that place by Elder William Ballen, December 20,1847. Father soon became acquainted with the Walker family and thereafter was a frequent visitor at their home.
The Saints of Saint Helier held a pretentious celebration on Pioneer Day, July 24, 1851. John Pack was the presiding officer. From personal experience he doubtless painted a vivid picture of what occurred on that famous day four years earlier in the far distant valleys of the Rocky Mountains.
Some idea of the success that accompanied the efforts of the elders in Jersey may be gained from the following brief statement, which is extracted from a letter written by Father to William Hyde, and dated at Number 2 La Motte Street, Isle of Jersey, August 1, 1851: “The work of God is rolling on here with great rapidity. We are baptizing some almost every day, and all the saints are bound for Zion as soon as time and means will permit.”
In response to a deep and prolonged religious impression, Father went to Havre, France, on the second of November, 1851, where he met Curtis E. Bolton, who had been similarly impressed to go to the same place. They baptized a number of people and experienced remarkable spiritual manifestations. It was a time of great rejoicing. Father returned to Saint Helier the next day.
Nothing more is known of Father’s activities until the tenth of January 1852, when he and a company of nineteen Saints from Saint Helier boarded the sailing vessel Kennebec at Liverpool bound for New Orleans. Father had been honorably released from a three year’s mission and was on his way home. The Saint Helier company consisted of eight males and twelve females. My mother, Mary Jane Walker, was one of the party. The entire company including the Saints from Saint Helier and others principally from England, was under the direction of Elder John S. Higbee and consisted of three hundred thirty-three souls.
The sailing vessel was slow, very slow, and the voyage was uneventful, except for a two week’s calm encountered in mid-ocean, when the ship is believed to have actually drifted backward. Eventually, two long months at sea, the Kennebec hove into the harbor at New Orleans, March 11, 1852. From here the Saints were carried by another boat to Saint Louis and thence by smaller craft to Council Bluffs.
Considerable delay was experienced both at Saint Louis and Council Bluffs, and it was not until May 27, 1852, that organization of the overland company was under the general direction of Ezra T. Benson. John S. Higbee who had been in charge of the party from Europe was a captain of fifty of which John Pack was a member.
The first day was consumed in crossing the river. The noise, the bustle, the lowing of cattle were all familiar to John Pack, for this was the third time he had gone through the same experience, but to the newcomers from across the sea it was all new.
At a point somewhat more than a hundred miles west of Winter Quarters, a military organization was effected, chiefly as a matter of defence against the Indians, and John Pack was elected Colonel. Thereafter he usually travelled slightly in advance of the main company and kept this position until all danger was passed, when he quickened his speed and arrived in the valley nearly a week ahead of the main company. He gave a report of his three-years’ mission to France at a meeting held in the Tabernacle at Salt Lake City, August 8, 1852. The main company reached the city five days later, August 13. The journey from Liverpool to Salt Lake City had consumed seven months. Father had been away from home three years lacking two months.
The reunion between Father and his family was a joyous occasion. He had been away from home among a generally hostile people, and had endured even greater hardship. They were in a new country, they were far from centers of civilization, and they had been under the necessity of wresting their meager living from an unfriendly soil. God had been good to Father in his absence, also to his family, and now they all rejoiced to be together.
The following statement made by Aunt Julia is indicative of her sterling, uncomplaining worth: “There were twelve of us in the family. We worked hard and supported ourselves in his absence. Our family consisted of my husband’s mother, myself and my six children, Nancy Boothe and one child, and Ruth Moshier and one child. These women are my husband’s wives and their two children. My son Ward was our main stay. We raised our bread, fought crickets, and went through all the hardships in common with our brethren and sisters. The Lord blessed us and gave us comfort under all of our hardships. We made most of our clothing, took wool on shares, bought a loom, learned to weave and make our own cloth, and were comfortably dressed.”
It is doubtful that any women in the world would be willing to undergo greater hardship than this, that the word of God might be carried to the people of foreign lands.
A matter of much historic interest occurred in Father’s absence. On the twenty-eighth of February, 1850, some four months after his departure for France, the legislature of the provisional government passed a bill providing for the incorporation of the University of Deseret. The measure was almost immediately signed by Governor Young, who then appointed a board of regents with Orson Spencer as chancellor.
In the autumn of that year, the first sessions of the University were held in the Pack home, at the southwest corner of West Temple and First North streets. It will be recalled that at the suggestion of President Young, Father had built a room in his house sufficiently large for entertainments. The house faced the east, with two large rooms in the front and several smaller ones in the rear. The northeasterly front room was the one in which the University held its first sessions. It is thought that about thirty students were in attendance, with Professor Orson Spencer, A. M. And Dr. Cyrus Collins as Instructors. “Terms for the quarter were eight dollars, half to be paid in advance.” The whole matter forms a bold contrast with the same institution today, with its four thousand students, two hundred instructors, and annual fees per student considerably in excess of one hundred dollars.
The University continued to meet in Father’s house until February 17, 1851, when it moved to the basement of the old Council House located at the southwest corner of Main and South Temple streets.
The fact that the first sessions of the University were held in my Father’s home is especially interesting to me, since I am one of its graduates, and have connected with it as a professor for now thirty years.
When Father left for France in October of 1849, his real estate holdings consisted of the one-and-one-fourth-acre lot in Salt Lake City and his forty acre farm in West Bountiful. The latter had been only recently located and was wholly uncultivated. His family was under the necessity of obtaining a livelihood largely from these two sources.
Accordingly, early the next spring following Father’s departure, a few acres of the farm at Bountiful were plowed and planted. The plowing was done with six oxen; Aunt Julia drove one yoke, her daughter Lucy one, and her son George one. Ward held the plow. At this time Lucy was thirteen, George was ten, and ward was sixteen. During succeeding years the cultivated acreage was gradually increased, so that in 1852, the year of Father’s return, the farm produced seven hundred fifty bushels of wheat, two hundred fifty bushels of oats, one hundred fifty bushels of corn, and “plenty of vegetables.” Little wonder that Father expressed himself as highly gratified with what had been done!
It should be recorded, too, that while Father was away one of his horses died, but was quickly replaced by another as a gift from President Heber C. Kimball. Father and Brother Kimball were staunch friends from the time they first met at Hounsfield to the end of their lives.
On the fifteenth of September, 1852, five weeks after Father’s return from France, he and Mary Jane Walker, my mother, were married at the office of the President of the Church, at Salt Lake City. President Heber C. Kimball officiated. Just when their period of courtship began I do not know. They met first at Saint Helier, Jersey Island, when he became the president of that mission. Thereafter for six or seven months they met at frequent intervals in church capacity. Then beginning in January of 1852, they were almost continuously together during the seven months’ trip from Liverpool to Salt Lake City. Their regard for each other, resulting in matrimony, was probably maturing throughout this entire period.
Nancy Boothe, Father’s second wife, died at Salt Lake City, August 14, 1853, one year after Father’s return from France. She left two small children, Sarah Amelia, age four years, and Adelbert Beaumont age three months. She was born in Brown County, Indiana, April 11, 1826, and was married to Father in the Nauvoo Temple, January 6, 1846, by Heber C. Kimball. They buried her in the family plot in the city cemetery at Salt Lake City.
At the April conference of 1855, Father was called to the Salmon River mission at Limhi, Idaho. I have never known the precise object of his visit. At that time a colony of Saints established at Limhi were having much trouble with the Indians, and the project was abandoned two years later. Mother accompanied Father on this trip. They left Salt Lake City in April of 1855, and returned in September of the same year. The trip was made by horse team and covered a distance somewhat in excess of one thousand miles. Mother has told me that the trip was a very pleasant one. It was made in the third year after her marriage, and was regarded by her as a kind of honeymoon.
Again, at the April conference of 1856, Father was called to assist in the settlement of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Settlement had begun at Carson Valley as early as 1850, and for the following five or six years the population was dominantly Mormon. Chiefly due to the growing opinion that the Carson Valley country might be ceded to California or become an independent territory, a rather general return to Salt Lake City began as early as 1856, and became general in 1857 when it was learned that Johnston’s Army was approaching the Utah settlements. Father left Carson Valley for Salt Lake City, July 3, 1856 and reached there July 22, having made the trip in nineteen days. From somewhat meager information, it appears that the route led around the north end of Great Salt Lake.
While Father was crossing the great alkaline flats of the Humbolt River, his horses became exhausted. His companions had gone ahead, and he was left alone in one of the most desolate and dangerous regions of Western America. He knelt by the side of his wagon and implored Diety to come to his aid. He stood up and looked around. His eye caught a green patch on a distant mountain side. He went to it; he dug into the moist ground and found water; he carried water to his horses; then he led them to the newly developed spring. Soon the journey was resumed. God had come to Father’s aid. He was saved from death, the nature of which can be imagined only by those who have travelled over these white shimmering plains on a midsummer day.
The year 1858 was one of near-famine. The crops were so short that the people had to live on rations. The farm at Bountiful produced only twenty two bushels of wheat. After the grain had been harvested, Aunt Julia, Aunt Ruth, and Mother gathered the loose heaps of wheat, threshed them with a flail, and winnowed the wheat over a canvas spread on the ground. Meantime both Aunt Julia and Mother had a child less than a year old lying in the shade of some willows near by, and Aunt Ruth was about to become a mother. Devout souls, the pioneer women of Utah!
On the twenty-fourth of July, 1857, while commemorating the tenth anniversary of their entrance into the valley with appropriate exercises at Silver Lake–now Brighton–the pioneers were terrified with the news that Johnston’s army was descending upon the Utah Colonies, with the avowed purpose of subjecting the Mormon people to all sorts of indignities and perhaps extermination. During the autumn and winter following, father assisted in detaining Johnston’s army at Fort Bridger, Wyoming. Early the next spring, when it became apparent that the army fully intended to enter the valley, Father made preparations for his families to join the “move south.” At that time Mother and Aunt Ruth were living at Bountiful, and Aunt Julia in Salt Lake City. Mother told me that when they left, Father had placed inflammable material beneath the granaries and around the house, so that if necessary they could be burned at short notice.
Father accompanied Mother and Aunt Ruth to the “Shanghai flats,” near Utah Lake, in April of 1858, and then returned to Salt Lake City where Aunt Julia had remained because of the critical illness of her oldest son’s wife, Elizabeth Still, who died May 19, 1859. The next day Aunt Julia gave birth to her fourth daughter, Sedenia Tamson. Two weeks later, the very day that Johnston’s army entered Salt Lake City, they joined the Saints in their refuge near Utah Lake.
Greatly to the delight of the fleeing pioneers, General Johnston kept his word and marched his army peaceably through the streets of the abandoned city, and then went into camp in Cedar Valley at Fairfield, thereafter known as Camp Floyd. Immediately many of the Saints began to return to their homes; others remained behind and made butter and cheese for the army. Among the latter were Mother and Aunt Ruth, who thus earned sufficient money to buy many household articles that they had long desired.
In some respects the coming of Johnston’s army was a decided benefit to the Mormon people, but in others, decidedly unfortunate. It provided a ready market for much of their produce, flour, oats, hay, butter, cheese, vegetables, and other farm products. This enabled the Saints to purchase various articles which theretofore were entirely beyond their reach. Mother sold butter for as much as a dollar per pound, and in turn paid fifty dollars for a small stove. On the other hand, the army brought with it many undesirable features which the country could have well afforded to be without. It was extremely fortunate for the colonists that one of the stipulations permitting the army to enter was that it should not encamp until it reached a point well beyond the settlements.
After Mother’s return from the “move south,” she and Aunt Ruth again took up their abode on the farm at Bountiful. They lived in a small log house some distance back in the field by the side of a large spring of cold water. A year or so later Father built more commodious, adobe house about fifty feet east of the spring. This was subsequently remodelled on two or three occasions, into a very comfortable home where Mother lived for the remainder of her life. Mother’s first three children were born in Salt Lake City, but the later ones, beginning with Walker, 1850, were all born in Bountiful.
In 1861, Father obtained a large acreage of land in Rhodes Valley, also called the “Kamas Prairie,” forty-five miles southeast of Salt Lake City. Here he helped to establish the town of Kamas, at the mouth of Beaver Creek, where it debouches from the west end of the Uinta Mountains. Here Father invested in the cattle business and soon became the owner of large herds. Thereafter it was Mother’s custom to go to Kamas and, in connection with Aunt Ruth, make large quantities of butter and cheese, and then return to Bountiful for the winter. Part of these products were sold and part used by the families at Salt Lake City and Bountiful. Aunt Ruth moved from Bountiful to Kamas permanently, March 12, 1863.
Soon after going to Kamas, Father and Charles Russell built a saw mill on Beaver Creek where there was an abundance of excellent timber. It will be recalled from what was said in an earlier page, that Father also built a saw mill near Kirtland, Ohio, which causes me to speculate that he and his father may have followed the same vocation at Watertown or even Saint John. Albeit, at Beaver Creek Father and his associates manufactured large quantities of lumber, and later shingles, which were used not only locally but in Salt Lake City and Bountiful. Sufficient boards, about eighteen inches wide by twenty feet long, were hauled to Bountiful to fence the entire forty acre farm. The fence was two boards high and the posts were about ten feet apart. It was still standing in my early youth, but in a poor state of repair–a fact which I well remember because of the ease with which our cows got through it into the neighboring fields.
Father’s venture at Kamas proved to be very successful. Indeed, it was from this source that he subsequently obtained a considerable part of his income. The saw mill was profitable and the cattle, even more so.
Someone told me the following anecdote when I was a child. But first let me state that it was Father’s practise to drive his fatted cattle into Salt Lake City for market. On one occasion, as the story goes, he was under necessity of driving a herd on Sunday. He was overtaken by a none-too-industrious acquaintance, who inquired of Father where he knew the commandment relative to resting on the Sabbath day. Whereupon Father, fully exasperated, retorted that he did, and added that he was only one sixth as guilty as his inquisitor who did not work at all, since the commandment also says, “six days shalt thou labor.”
The road from Salt Lake City to Kamas at that time was an extremely poor one. It led close to the creek bed through Parley’s Canyon, then across Parley’s Park, via Kimball’s ranch, and finally over the “Big Hill” between Silver Creek and Rhodes Valley. Throughout its entire length the road was rough and irregular; over the Big Hill it was unusually steep, and in some places, dangerous. The journey by wagon required two full days. Father, who always drove fine horses and outfits, commonly made it in one.
January 16, 1864, Father married Jessie Bell Stirling in Salt Lake City. Her first two children were born in Salt Lake City, and the later ones in Bountiful; some twenty-five rods southwest of Mother’s house, but on the street. It was here that Aunt Jessie lived until some time after Father’s death, when she sold it and built a more comfortable one near by at the west.
Phylotte Green, Father’s mother, died January 6, 1866, at the advanced age of ninety-six. She had lived with Father and Aunt Julia since 1837, and had been a consistent Latter-day Saint throughout the entire time. She was admitted to membership at the sixth meeting of the Relief Society held at Nauvoo April 28, 1842. Father buried her in the family lot in the city cemetery at Salt Lake City.
On the second of May, 1868, Father married his seventh and last wife, Lucy Jane Giles at Salt Lake City. Very soon thereafter she moved to Kamas, where Father built her a comfortable little home, only a few blocks distant from Aunt Ruth.
On the nineteenth of November, 1869, Father and Aunt Julia and their son Ward left Salt Lake City for a short-term mission to several of the eastern states. While Father gave a large number of lectures on Mormonism, yet he devoted the major part of his time to the gathering of family genealogy. In this he was very successful, for when he and his party returned to Salt Lake City, May 10, 1870, until the time of Father’s death in 1885, he and Aunt Julia and Ward spent much time in the Logan Temple performing ceremonies for the dead whose records they had obtained on this trip.
The following self-explanatory note appears in the Deseret News of December 1, 1875:
“Elder John Pack has done a very liberal thing. He has deeded over to Bishop John H. Smith, of the Seventeenth Ward, and his successors in office, a piece of ground, valued at about $1,000, on condition that a good and substantial meeting-house be erected thereon, subject to the condition that such building shall not be used for balls, parties, political or similar gatherings, but exclusively for religious meetings and observances, by the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and such meetings as shall be approved by the presiding authorities of said Church.
“Brother Pack also generously deeded a piece of ground in the same ward of similar value, to Marinda Hyde, President of the Ladies Relief Society and her successors in office of that ward, on condition that a good and substantial building be erected thereon suitable for the furthering of the purposes for which the society was organized by the authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“This is a most generous donation for a laudable object and is well worthy of emulation.”
Father was one of the organizers of the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society–forerunner of the present State Fair Association–and was closely identified with it until the time of his death. He was doubtless attracted to this undertaking chiefly because of his interest in farming and agriculture. He was a lover of fine stock and exhibited them regularly each year at the fair, also various farm products. Mother also regularly exhibited such articles as butter, dried fruits, and, later, bottled fruits. I remember that John R. Winder was one of Mother’s chief competitors in the butter exhibits. Mother, however received her full share of the first prizes.
My own early interest at the state fair was doubtless prompted by the fact that Father was able to obtain free passes for the family. Our visits to the fair was one of the chief diversions of the year. I also have clear recollection of the fact that after Father’s death the complimentary passes were no longer forth-coming and that thereafter our visits were far less frequent.
I have already stated that Father was a lover of good stock. When he left Nauvoo in 1846 he was well equipped with both oxen and horses. On his pioneer journey to the valley, in 1847, he provided himself with a good team, also an excellent saddle horse. Indeed, he seldom had anything but the best. In his later years, that is in the early eighties, when I can first remember him, he owned a beautiful Hamiltonian stallion which he called “Ham.” Ham was a high spirited creature, capable of trotting at almost record speed. Father boasted of his practise of driving Ham from Salt Lake City to Kamas in a single day, whereas with an ordinary animal the trip was necessarily nearly twice as long.
Ham was kept in excellent condition, and was used only for driving with a light one-seat buggy. I am of the opinion that Father took delight in driving Ham at top speed when Mother was with him, knowing, as he did, that she was none too comfortable with even the slowest of horses. At least this is the opinion that Mother gave me.
One of the chief delights in connection with Father’s visits to our home was the ride that he almost invariably gave me when he returned to the city. He would permit me to go with him for half a mile or so, and then I would walk home, feeling that the ride had far more than repaid me for the effort.
After the United States Government decided to prosecute all Latter-day Saints who had contracted plural marriages, Father was, of course, constantly liable to arrest, but he went about his business in the usual manner, merely explaining that if the deputy marshalls wanted him, they knew where he lived. Although he was never known to mention it, yet his family and intimate friends knew that he placed full confidence in the promise of his patriarchal blessing, stating, “Thou shalt have power over prisons; they shall not hold thee.” Father was fully converted to the principle of plurality of wives, and, happily, he was never molested or made afraid.
John Pack died very suddenly at his home in Salt Lake City in the late evening of April 4, 1885, after a simple illness of less than a week. The news was brought to our home in Bountiful, early the next morning by William Tolbert as Mother and her family sat at the breakfast table. Mother immediately broke into tears and expressed deep regret that she was not with him at the time of his departure. We immediately made preparation to go to the city, which we reached shortly after noon of that day. We were told that Father had wakened somewhat suddenly with a shortness of breath and requested Aunt Julia to send for some Elders, but that he died before they arrived.
A few days later, funeral services were held in the Seventeenth Ward meeting house, only a few rods from his home. Elder John Henry Smith, then an apostle, but formerly the Bishop of the ward was the principal speaker. Father was extolled as a devout Latter-day Saint, a true son of God, all of which he fully deserved. We buried him in the family lot in the city cemetery in Salt Lake City, and later erected at his grave an appropriate granite monument, upon which is engraved the following:
Born May 20, 1809, New Brunswick
Dominion of Canada
Died April 4, 1885
Baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, March 8, 1836
Appointed Senior President of the Eighth Quorum of Seventy, October 8, 1844, at Nauvoo, Illinois.
Commissioned Major in the Nauvoo Legion October 28, 1844 by Governor Ford of Illinois.
He was a Captain of fifty in the Utah Pioneer band
Entered Salt Lake Valley July 22, 1847.
Assisted President John Taylor in Opening the French Mission 1849-1852.
Performed four other missions. He was the father of forty-three children.
Before Father’s death he disposed of the larger part of real estate by warranty deed, to his various wives. Aunt Julia received the lot in Salt Lake City, Aunt Ruth certain holdings in Kamas, Mother slightly more than half of the farm at Bountiful, Aunt Jessie the remainder of the farm, and Aunt Lucy property at Kamas. Certain other lands at Kamas, cattle, chattels, etc. were disposed of by will, of which John Pack, Jr. and Quince R. Pack were executors. The families were thus all left in fairly comfortable circumstances, that is in so far as lands were concerned. Father’s distribution of his property was generally regarded as perfectly equitable, which I should say was a very great accomplishment, especially in view of the size of his family.
In physical stature John Pack was about five feet nine inches tall and weighed close to one hundred seventy pounds. Even in the later years of his life he stood erect and walked neat with a sprightly tread. He was always well dressed; he was neat and tended somewhat toward aristocracy. He had a rather large forehead, with a mass of curly black hair well back from the temples. His chin was perhaps slightly smaller than normal, mouth firm, nose straight, and expressive dark eyes. He wore a moustache and a nearly trimmed beard, which in his later life was tinged with grey. Altogether he was a very striking and commanding figure.
He is said to have been frankness personified. He possessed no tolerance whatsoever for insincerity or hypocracy. He was outspoken in his opinions and fearless of results. It is said, in fact, that sometimes he offended people with his abruptness, especially those who were not well acquainted with him. He possessed pronounced opinions, but, withal, was as obedient as a child to every official call made of him.
He is rated as a man of extreme honesty and as one who almost abhorred indebtedness to others. Shortly after his return from France, he had an opportunity to enter the mercantile business, but he refused to do so, on the ground that he feared it might lead him into unfair dealings with his brethren. He was meticulously honest in all things. He died owing no man.
Father was a staunch convert to the religion of the Latter-day Saints, and was ready at all times, if necessary, to lay down his life for it. Even more, he was willing to live it. He devoted nearly ten years to missionary work away from home, and at all other times he was industriously engaged in local organizations. During the thirty years that he was president of the Eighth Quorum of Seventy, he was consistently in attendance at its meetings, and at all times advocated strict obedience to the principles of the Gospel in every sense of the word.
Father was a good provider. From his early manhood, possessed marked ability to acquire property, and yet he never exercised this gift to the disadvantage of his spiritual growth. He did not love property for its own sake, but rather for the service that could be rendered by it. For this reason he did not become a rich man, merely a helpful man. When the Saints were forced from Missouri, he contributed the proceeds from the sale of his property to those who were in need. When they left Nauvoo he had three teams and wagons to add to the fleeing train. At Winter Quarters he furnished a team and a saddle horse for the first expedition to Utah. On his second trip to Utah he again owned ample transportation facilities. While he was absent in France the first sessions of the University were held in his house. A little later he provided a complete outfit for the Salmon River venture, and the following year he met the expense of the trip to Carson Valley. Father was ever helping; he was never an expense to the Church or to his people; he was always an asset, never a liability. He asked for nothing but gave much.
But I unhesitatingly regard Father’s attitude toward his family as his outstanding achievement. Polygamous relations test the strength of men and women perhaps more completely than any other experience, and yet Father went through it for forty years, and came out infinitely the stronger because of it. I have never heard one of his wives speak ill of him or accuse him of being biased or unfair. On the contrary, I have heard each one of them praise him because of his justice and his determination to do right. The prime secret of his marital success doubtless lay in the fact that he persistently made his home with his first wife and called upon the others to love and respect her. Then, too, Father was unusually fortunate in having very superior women as his wives.
He was a devout Christian, an honest man, an excellent husband and father.
John Pack was the father of forty-three children, twenty-three boys and twenty girls, nearly all of whom survived him. At the present time, fifty-two years after his death, his descendants exceed one thousand. The names of his wives and children follow:
Julia Ives Pack, first wife, married at Watertown, October 10, 1832, New York
Ward Eaton born Watertown, New York April 17, 1834
Lucy Amelia born Kirtland, Ohio June 24, 1837
George Caleb born Nauvoo, Illinois Nov. 6, 1840
John Pack, Jr. born Nauvoo, Illinois Oct. 5, 1843
Julia born Nauvoo, Illinois Oct. xxxxxxxxxx
Don Carlos born Winter Quarters, Neb. Aug 22, 1847
Eleanor Phylotte born Salt Lake City, Utah Aug. 22, 1849
Erastus Frederick born Salt Lake City, Utah June 17, 1853
Merrit Newton born Salt Lake City, Utah May 1, 1856
Sedenia Tamson born Salt Lake City, Utah May 20, 1858
Joel Ives born Salt Lake City, Utah Sept. 9, 1860
Nancy Booth Pack, second wife, married Nauvoo, Ill. Jan. 6, 1846
Sarah Amelia born Salt Lake City, Utah June 2,1849
Adelbert Beaumont born Salt Lake City, Utah May 4, 1853
Ruth Mosher, third wife, married at Nauvoo, Illinois Jan. 1846*
Silas Mosher born Salt Lake City, Utah Oct. 20, 1849
Catharine Devalley born Salt Lake City, Utah June 8, 1853
Irving James born Salt Lake City, Utah April 16, 1855
Orson Parley born Salt Lake City, Utah Nov. 2, 1856
Ursula Vilate born Bountiful, Utah Aug. 22, 1858
Yoma Zeneth born Bountiful, Utah Mar. 2, 1860
John Ambrose born Bountiful, Utah Sept. 1, 1862
Martha Mary born Kamas, Utah Mar. 13, 1865
Benjamin Vancura born Kamas, Utah June 11, 1867
Eliza Jaine Graham, fourth wife, married Nauvoo, Illinois Jan. 6, 1846*
Mary Jane Walker, fifth wife, married Salt Lake City Sept. 15, 1852
Geneva Harriet born Salt Lake City, Utah July 22, 1853
Kamelia Luella born Salt Lake City, Utah Dec. 17, 1855
Quince Rufus born Salt Lake City, Utah Nov. 29, 1857
Walker Zenophon born Bountiful, Utah Feb. 17, 1860
Jane Annie born Bountiful, Utah Sept. 28, 1862
Edith Olive born Bountiful, Utah Mar. 17, 1865
Flora Inez born Bountiful, Utah Dec. 10, 1867
Phylotte born Bountiful, Utah Dec. 7, 1869
Hattie born Bountiful, Utah Sept. 30, 1872
Frederick James born Bountiful, Utah Feb. 2, 1875
Harold R. born Bountiful, Utah Aug. 7, 1882
Jessie Bell Stirling, sixth wife, married Salt Lake City Jan. 16, 1864
William Elmer born Salt Lake City, Utah Nov. 15, 1865
David Thomas born Salt Lake City, Utah Sept. 19, 1867
Elizabeth Nettie born Bountiful, Utah Nov. 27, 1870
Hyrum Osmer born Bountiful, Utah Nov. 15, 1872
Roy born Bountiful, Utah Mar. 10, 1875
Gerald born Bountiful, Utah Aug. 7, 1878
Jessie Bell born Bountiful, Utah Mar. 30, 1882
Lucy Jane Giles, seventh wife married at Salt Lake City May 2, 1868
Ida May born Kamas, Utah Mar. 8, 1870
Parley William born Kamas, Utah Sept. 20, 1875
Inez Ann born Kamas, Utah Oct. 27, 1878
Compiled and written by Frederick J. Pack
Dated at Salt Lake City, Utah, October 22, 1937