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
8 Exodus

By the fall of 1846, the Saints had nearly evacuated Nauvoo. While many Saints made their way to Winter Quarters, a few hundred remained in Nauvoo, either too sick or too poor to move across the river. Some of these were recent converts who had just arrived in Nauvoo and were now without funds to continue their trip west.

Apparently our Whitings were among this group. No doubt one reason was that they had lost everything when their homes, chair shop, special wood, and most of their supplies were burned at Yelrome, just a year before. Perhaps his very useful building skills, and his willingness to help others, contributed to the reasons they were among the last to leave Nauvoo.

In late August 1846, several vigilante groups stepped up pressure on these remaining Mormons. Finally, the mobs attacked, in what has become known as the Battle of Nauvoo, a week of skirmishes in which several Mormons were killed. After four days of skirmishes, the defenders surrendered. These Saints were then forced to cross the river to Montrose, where they were critically short of supplies and shelter.

The Whiting poem shows that Edwin Whiting was among those forced across the river in the skirmishes of the last days, which left the women and children to fend for themselves as attacks on the city continued:

(Men & Fathers Cross River)

Not long after they had murdered
Brother Hyrum and the Seer,
Mobs again became like demons
Burning homes both far and near.

Fathers driven from their loved ones
Had to flee for safety where
They could send for wife and children
Left behind in sorrow there.

And if they ventured back to see them
Dear ones that were dying, then
They would kill their homesick fathers,
Shoot them down, those wicked men.

(Elizabeth's Baby)

Grandma had a dying baby,
Grandpa had to flee away,
Across the river where for safety
Hundreds had gone there to stay.

Mobs were roaming o'er the highways,
Roaming through the cities too,
Driving all the men from loved ones,
Outrageous crimes they dared to do.

(Old Man Volunteers)

One old man, he said they'd let him
Move the families of those men
They had driven across the river,
If they'd ne'er come back again.

They were going to burn the cities,
Every home where Mormons dwell,
"Burn their homes and burn their churches!"
This the wicked mob did yell.


So one day Grandma was ready
To move from her place called home,
That Old Man would call and get them,
But alas, he did not come.

They waited long into the twilight,
Waited long into the night,
Watching o’er their dying baby
And the city burning bright.

(Buildings Burning)

Children watching in the doorway,
Oh! the flames they reached so high.
Now their father's shop was burning
And lit up the earth and sky.

"Mother, dear, come out!" they shouted,
Come this awful sight to see.
Dancing mobs and fighting demons
Burning homes, while Saints did flee.

Grandma came into the doorway
Left her dying babe alone,
Thinking, yes, that every moment
They would come and burn their home.

(Leaving Nauvoo)

But the night waned into morning
And the morning into day,
Then the Old Man came and took them
Moved my mother's folks away.

And while passing through that city,
Where the Nauvoo Temple stands,
Grandma said, "Look at the temple
Built by many willing hands.

Take one long, long look dear children.
See the temple, as for when
We get across the river
We may n'er come back again.

(Baby Dies)

When they came into the river
They crossed o’er the other side,
Then their darling little sister
Became so sick and then she died.

Grandpa made a little casket
Out of just an old rough plank,
Then they buried their dear baby
On the lonely river bank.

Homeless now and without shelter,
Hundreds thronged the riverside,
Through the cold rains and exposure
Many sick and many died.

Along the River

As many as 700 refugees camped along the banks of the Mississippi. Many had neither wagon nor tent to protect themselves from the elements. Food was scarce. Many starved or died from exposure during the next few days.

It is now believed that it was among this group that "Nine babies were born the first night." Doubtless the impending births were another cause of delay in leaving the city.

When news of their poor situation reached Brigham Young, he sent supplies to relieve their suffering and to bring them to the main staging grounds at Winter Quarters. Twenty wagons, seventeen oxen, forty one cows, and several volunteers arrived an October 6th.

On October 9, 1846, before starting their movement westward, these, the last Saints to leave, witnessed what to them was a miracle from God. As the Lord fed the Children of Israel in the wilderness with manna, a flock of quail landed in the Saints' camp. The birds were exhausted, easy to kill, and provided much needed nourishment for the camp.

Hungry children, hungry mothers,
Hungry boys and hungry men,
And as the raven fed Elijah,
God sent quails to help feed them.
A second rescue mission was sent from Winter Quarters, arriving in late October to assist those still remaining. By November 1846, all who wanted to go west had been evacuated to Winter Quarters.
From there they went to Garden Grove
Then to Mt. Pisgah, and there to find
They stayed and worked, planned and labored
And crossed the plains in forty nine.
Source: Louine Berry Hunter


The Whitings went as far as Mt. Pisgah, Iowa, now known as Florence or Talmadge, where they prepared for the westward journey across the plains. Several thousand acres were fenced for cultivation, after the manner of settlement at Garden Grove.

Pisgah became a resting place for our weary exiles for three years. Three children were born, one to each wife: Oscar Newell was horn to Elizabeth, Catherine Emeline to Almira, and Albert Milton to Mary.

The Last Match
by Ruth Brown Lewis

While the Whitings were at Mt. Pisgah preparing to cross the plains, they started a factory to manufacture chairs [just as they had done in Lima, Illinois]. They loaded ox wagons with chairs to take down the river to Missouri. After successfully selling them they encountered an Iowa blizzard, hurricane, and cyclone all in one. Clouds and darkness settled suddenly around them, and there were no tornado cellars to flee to. The cold was intense, and the wind came from all directions.

Skilled backwoodsmen though they were, they realized amid the swirling winds that they didn't know which direction they were going. They were lost, and they and their teams were freezing, so they were forced to make camp and build a fire.

An arctic wind, in its fierceness and unchained violence, was raging around them while they unyoked their oxen to seek a sheltered spot. This being done, they turned their attention to themselves. Frostbitten as they were, they sought, in the darkness, a little dry fuel. Everything was wet under the snow; the best they found was poor enough.

Now for the matches - only three in the crowds (No such matches as we have now.) Two of the three were unsuccessfully struck! One alone remained between them and certain death. Every precaution was taken to ensure the successful burning of the last match. It was held inside a large wooden bucket (used to feed cattle their grain), and another bucket was inverted over that. The match was struck. The tiny flame caught the timber in the bucket and their lives were saved by the burning of the last match.

When the storm broke and light appeared, they found themselves only a few rods from their own fence. The men knelt and thanked their Heavenly Father for their safe arrival home.

Their oxen's noses were fearfully frozen and split open. After their noses healed, and they grew new hoofs, the oxen were fine.

Deaths of Sally & Elisha

Mt. Pisgah is where the story of Sally and Elisha comes to an earthly end. Sickness overtook them when the dreaded cholera broke out. There were so many sick at the same time that there was no one well enough to get the sick ones a drink. Sally died first, in August of 1846. Elisha then married Mother Head, who was also old. Probably it was more convenient for the two old and sick people to be married in their situation. ‘Mother Head’ was the widow of Anthony Head who had died in 1843 in Nauvoo. Her maiden name was Catherine Maggard. Then Catherine died a few months later, in February 1847. Elisha died in March, 1848.

Both of Edwin's parents, Elisha and Sally, died of cholera. Edwin and Elizabeth's small daughter, Emily Jane, also died, as did Edwin's brother, William. Their names are on the monument lately erected at that place.

Other family names on the monument: Sarah Hulet, Sarah Ann Hulet, Louisa Cox, and Eliza Cox (daughters of Walter Cox and Emeline Whiting).

Even in those trying times, the Lord was with them; they still had faith in the Gospel, and in eternal family ties.

Mary Cox Whiting taught school two terms to help the family, so with the income from chairs, crops, school teaching, and other resourceful projects, they prepared to go west.

In April 1849, Edwin, Emeline and their families, started westward in Brother Morley's company.

For a continuation of the Whiting history, see "Edwin Whiting & Mary Elizabeth Cox," by Louine B. Hunter.

by Ruth Brown Lewis

When we were kids, we used to play "Quaker Meeting." We all sat on chairs like we were at a meeting. The Quakers used to spend a lot of time doing nothing but sitting still and thinking, so no one ever spoke when we played. We all sat there very quietly with one person in charge of keeping everyone quiet. He had a long stick with a little ball on the end and if we moved more than our eyes, we got tapped on the head.

from Old Mormon Nauvoo, by Holzapfel and Cottle

From Nauvoo take highway 96 south toward Quincy. Approximately ten miles from the Warsaw Road (about 2.5 miles before Lima) is the road to Tioga. Turn east (left) and travel 1.5 miles east (this turn off road becomes 80 North in Tioga). Turn south (right) at the stop sign at 840 East. Head south about one mile to where the road forks. This is the site of Money's Settlement. There are no extant historic Mormon buildings at this site.

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