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
7 Narrative Poem

The following poem by Effie Buchanan Hackett, was written about the life of Amelia, the oldest daughter of Edwin and Elizabeth, and tells the story of the Edwin Whiting family during this chaotic church history period. I have interspersed the poem throughout the text in the appropriate timeline, omitting a few sections that do not apply to our direct line, to avoid confusion. Sub titles have been added for clarity:

(Morley's Settlement)

There he built and owned a chair shop
In that town in Illinois,
Thinking he would have employment
For himself and for his boys.

But, alas! The clouds were gathering
That would make the strongest Saint grow pale,
Again the sad news reached their city
That Brother Joseph was in Jail.

Sad indeed that news was to them,
They knew that mobs again would come,
Drive them from that little village,
Drive them from the place called home.


And they mourned for their dear Prophet
And his brother Hyrum too,
Who were in the jail at Carthage,
Mobs would dare kill them, this they knew.

Blood thirsty wretches just like demons.
Mother, but a little child
Yet, she vividly remembered
Their faces black, like Indians wild.

While Brother Joseph was in prison
On that sad Memorial Day,
Grandma sent her son named
William To a store three miles away.

And while shopping for his mother
Shots rang out so loud and clear,
And someone shouted from the doorway,
"They've killed Joseph Smith, the Prophet Seer!"

All rushed from the store, excited,
Some were frightened, some were glad.
William wended his way homeward
To tell the news so true, so sad.

He heard the shots that killed the Prophet,
Heard the shots that took his life,
Heard the yelling of those wretches
In that awful hour of strife.

The Lull Before the Storm

After the martyrdom, things quieted down. Their enemies, thinking they had put an end to Mormonism by murdering their Prophet, turned to other things for a while.

During this lull, most of the Lima area saints returned to their homes where they remained over a year, until September 19, 1845.

1845 6, Plural Wives

On the advice of those in authority over him, and for a righteous purpose, Edwin entered into the law of plural marriage in 1845, when he married Almira Meacham.

The following year, January 27, 1846, he married Mary Elizabeth Cox, our ancestor, in the Nauvoo Temple. Ruth Brown says they are the only ones of our ancestors who were married in the Nauvoo Temple, although many were sealed there.

Source: Louine Berry Hunter


Both Lima and Yelrome were attacked in September. On September 10, 1845 a large mob invaded Morley's Settlement and burned many homes. The morning following, Solomon Hancock sent word of the burnings to President Brigham Young:

Dear Brother,

I will agreeably to your request send you some of the particulars of what has been done. On the other side of the branch, it is a scene of desolation. On Wednesday the 10th all of a sudden, the mob rushed upon Edmund Durfee and destroyed some property, and set fire to both of his buildings. . . On the morning of the 11th they again set fire to the buildings of Edmund Durfee, and fired upon some of his children without hitting them; they then proceeded to the old shop of Father Morley's and set fire to both his shops. In the afternoon the mob came on again and set fire to Father Whiting's chair shop, Walter Cox, Cheney Whiting, and Azariah Tuttle's houses. At evening they retreated back again. . . Last evening they set on fire three buildings, near Esq. Walker's; and this morning we expect them to renew their work of destruction . . . The mob is determined to destroy us.

The mob have burned all houses on the south side of the branch, and left last evening for Lima; said they would return this morning as soon as light, and swear they will sweep through and burn everything in Nauvoo.

On November 15th, a mob shot and killed Edmund Durfee. The community lay in ashes and was abandoned by the Saints as they moved to the relative safety of Nauvoo.

The Church requested the following of the brethren living in Nauvoo:

The Council of the Church requests every man who has a team to go immediately to the Morley Settlement, and act in concert with President Solomon Hancock in removing the sick, the women, and children, goods and grain to Nauvoo.

From John Taylor journal:

Thursday, September 11th, 1845: This morning we received information from Lima, that the mobs were burning houses there . . .and finally we heard that there were three burnt. We [the Twelve] held a council and thought it advisable as we were going west in the spring to keep all things as quiet as possible and not resent anything. After the trouble we had to finish the Temple to get our endowment, we thought it of more importance than to squabble with the mob about property, seeing that the houses were not much importance, and no lives were taken. Thinking by these specific measure that they would be likely not to molest us, and to show the surrounding country that we were orderly disposed people, and desirous of keeping peace. It was also counseled that the brethren from the surrounding settlements should come into Nauvoo with their grain.

Friday, September 12th, 1845: Reports came in about their further mobbing. We sent a number of teams off for grain to the settlements.

From The Rise and Fall of Nauvoo, by B. H. Roberts:

...Twenty nine houses were burned down, while their occupants were driven into the bushes where men, women and children laid drenched with rain, anxiously awaiting the breaking of day.

Elisha's House Saved

At the time of the mobbing in Yelrome, Edwin and Elizabeth had four living children: William, Helen Amelia, Sarah, and Emily Jane.

Aunt Elizabeth told how she sat on a pile of bedding far into the night with her little daughter Jane, who was very ill, in her arms. Little Sarah clapped her hands at the big bonfire made of fences, furniture, and the specially selected wood and supplies from Edwin's chair shop.

Every house in the village was burned except Elisha Whiting's, which was spared because he was so sick they could not move him.

But apparently the mob returned another time and destroyed the house. Lester Whiting told the following incident which his father told him many times. This time Sally was sick:

Elisha Whiting was a wagon and chair maker. While living in Yelrome, Illinois, he purchased a lot of new lumber and other supplies for his business.

One day when Elisha was not home, a mob came on horses and saw that his wife Sally was sick in bed, and gave her children just twenty minutes to move her out of the house before they burned it.

The children placed their mother on an old straw mattress and drug her from the house out into the cornfield. The mob came back and burned not only the house, but all the new materials Elisha had acquired for making wagons and chairs.

The Family Splits

As persecution increased, Sally and Elisha prepared to leave Nauvoo and move with the body of the Church toward the West.

A great sorrow came to them when five of their children: Catherine, Chauncy, Almon, Sylvester, and Lewis, left the Church. After the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, they did not feel Brigham Young should become the new leader, so they followed Alpheus Cutler and called themselves "Cutlerites" and moved to Clitherall, Minnesota.

To this day they hold tenaciously to the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. They still correspond with the children of Edwin Whiting and have given us for temple work an extensive genealogy of the Whiting family.

Coxes and Whitings Become as One

Edwin's sister, Emeline, was his only sibling to stay true to the Church and not follow the Cutlerites. Emeline married Walter Cox, the brother of Mary Cox, and the two families became as one. For years they worked a chair shop together, in Far West, Yelrome, and Manti.

From The Rise and Fall of Nauvoo:

Nauvoo presented a busy scene in those days. Men were hurrying to and fro collecting wagons and putting them in repair; the roar of the smith's forge was well nigh perpetual, and even the stillness of night was broken by the steady beating of the sledge and the merry ringing of the anvil.

Most likely Edwin and Elisha were heavily involved in wagon making in Nauvoo. Although their shop, wood, and supplies were burned in Yelrome, no doubt their skills were needed and useful in Nauvoo. As preparations were made throughout the city for evacuation, trouble with their enemies escalated.

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