compiled from the collected writings of Martha Whiting Brown, Ruth Brown Lewis, other family writings, & historical writings as noted in text
by Louine B. Hunter
1997 revision
  1. Elisha Jr.'s early years
  2. Sally Hulet's background
  3. Missouri 1833
  4. Far West, Missouri
  5. Battle of Crooked River, Caldwell County, Oct. 25, 1838
  6. Illinois, 1839-1845
  7. Narrative Poem
  8. Exodus
3 MISSOURI, 1833

The Hulets and Coxes (and perhaps the Whitings) moved to Independence County, Missouri, after it was revealed by the prophet to be the New Zion.

The saints soon found that the "old settlers," resented this new religion, and the industry and prosperity of the Mormons. Another problem was that the Mormons were mostly from the northern and New England states, while the Missourians were primarily from the southern states. The strong suspicion and dislike, which all too often existed between people from slave holding states and free states, began to manifest itself.

The saints would not join the Missourians in their way of life, and the Mormon belief in a prophet, modern day revelation, the Book of Mormon, and Jackson County as their "Zion, the land of their inheritance," served to heighten hostilities between the old settlers and the Mormons.

The first indication of trouble occurred one night in the spring of 1833, when some of the houses of the Saints were shot into. These acts were but the beginning of a storm of violence that would eventually drive the Saints across the Missouri River.

The night of October 31, 1833, the Mormons were driven from their homes in Jackson County by mobs. The Hulets got into a boat to cross to the north side of the Missouri River into Clay County.

A man with guns met them at the shore and said, "you 'uns can't land here."

One woman, wringing her hands asked, "Oh, where shall we go?"

"Go to Hell!"

They floated on down the river and landed at a grove of leafless trees which would give them some protection from the cold night wind. Afraid to build a fire, they huddled together for a little warmth. The rain turned to sleet and then to snow, but they survived. The next morning they separated to hunt for wood for a winter shelter.

Clay County, Missouri

Thus we find the Hulets & Coxes in Clay County, where land was again purchased, homes were built or rented, and farming and family life was again started from scratch. For a couple of years the Saints found peace and prospered in Clay County and were happy, many of them locating at Liberty.

Mother Whitmer

The Hulets lived close to the Whitmers, on an adjoining farm, in Clay County. After John Whitmer died, Uncle Sylvester married his widow. The Hulets felt very bad when the Whitmers were excommunicated. Later Sylvester's wife left him to go with the Whitmers.

Mother Whitmer told the Hulets this story:

David Whitmer had invited Joseph and Oliver to live in his fathers' home while translating the Book of Mormon. When Oliver's hand and Joseph's eyes grew tired they went to the woods for a rest. There they often skated rocks on a pond.

Mother Whitmer, with five grown sons and a husband to care for, besides visitors, often grew tired. She thought that Joseph and Oliver should carry a bucket of water or chop a bit of wood for her rather than skate rocks on a pond. She was about to order them out of her home.

Just at daybreak one morning, she came out of her cow stable with two full buckets of milk in her hands, when a short, heavy set, gray haired man carrying a package met her and said:

My name is Moroni. You have become pretty tired with all the extra work you have to do. The Lord has given me permission to show this record.

With that he turned the golden leaves one by one.

I doubt that the Whitmers ever doubted the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon or the gospel, but they began to doubt Joseph Smith.

Oliver Cowdry married one of the Whitmer girls and before his death he went back and was baptized again.

Death of Mary Lewis Hulet

Sally's mother, Mary Lewis Hulet, went through all the hardships the Saints went through in Missouri before she died in Clay County, probably in 1837.

Two of her daughters, Charlotte and Rhoda, died in Missouri; martyrs for the faith. Only Sally, of Mary's daughters, lived to leave Missouri.

Caldwell County

Growing resentment from their Clay County neighbors caused the Saints to agree once again to give up their land and many possessions, and move as a body to Caldwell County, where they soon founded the new settlement they named Far West.

Elisha's Conversion, 1838

When Sally mentioned the church to Elisha, he didn't want to hear about it.

One day he said, "I wish I had Joe Smith on my work bench where I could saw his head off." Not long after this he became very ill. Sally asked him to let the Mormon Elders administer to him. He refused, saying, "I would not have their dirty paws on me."

No, he wanted no part of religion, nothing at all. He had enough of Quakerism to last a lifetime. As a youth, Elisha always had to go to meetings with the Quaker family. He did not like the meetings because they were so silent and strict, and because he had to sit so still for so long with nothing interesting going on.

But Elisha was the father of ten living children, who depended on him, and now he was ill. He got worse, much worse. His jaws were set, he could not speak, and everyone expected him to die.

It is said that as he got worse, he realized he might die and leave his ten children for his wife to raise alone and what if they had to be put out as apprentices as he had been? While thinking of this he realized that he wanted ANYTHING that could help him to get well.

Once more Sally asked him to let the Elders come. Although he could not speak, she felt sure he consented. The elders came and administered to him. Almost immediately he improved and spoke. He knew the Lord had healed him.

He was baptized about four days later. From then on, he was a faithful member of the Church.

Also baptized that day were Edwin, his wife Elizabeth, and some of Edwin's brothers and sisters. They were baptized by Thomas Marsh in 1838. (Sally and her family had joined in 1830.)

Source: Louine Berry Hunter

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